American soldier Travis King returned to United States soil Thursday for the first time since being detained by North Korean authorities in July, U.S. officials said. King has been held by North Korean authorities since July 18, when he intentionally crossed into the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. The North Korean government announced Wednesday that it "decided to expel" U.S. Army Pvt. Travis King, returning him to U.S. custody. He was initially taken to China and then flown to the U.S. following an initial medical exam. On Thursday morning, a military flight carrying King landed at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, U.S. officials said. King, 23, is expected to be transported to the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas for further mental and physical exams. US OFFICIALS SAY TRAVIS KING IS IN AMERICAN CUSTODY AFTER MONTHS OF DETAINMENT IN NORTH KOREA King spent 71 days in North Korean custody. His release almost certainly does not end his troubles as he has been declared AWOL from the Army, which can be punished by detention in military jail, forfeiture of pay or a dishonorable discharge. The National Security Council confirmed King's return to U.S. custody in a call on Wednesday. "U.S. officials have secured the return of Private Travis King from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)," said Pentagon Spokesperson Brigadier Gen Patrick Ryder. He added: "We appreciate the hard work of personnel in the Army, United States Forces Korea, and across the Department of Defense to bring Private King home, and we thank the governments of Sweden and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for their assistance." On Wednesday, Swedish officials took King to the Chinese border, where he was met by the U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns, the Swedish ambassador to China, and at least one U.S. Defense Department official. King's mother, Claudine Gates, said she would be "forever grateful" for his safe return. "Ms. Gates will be forever grateful to the United States Army and all its interagency partners for a job well done," said Jonathan Franks, the spokesman for King's mother. "For the foreseeable future, the family asks for privacy and Ms. Gates does not intend to give any interviews." During King’s detainment, U.S. officials were not allowed to communicate with him or inquire about why he crossed into North Korea in the first place. PENTAGON DISPUTES PYONGYANG'S CLAIM THAT US SOLDIER TRAVIS KING WILLINGLY SOUGHT 'REFUGE' IN NORTH KOREA A senior defense official told Fox News on Tuesday that King got into a physical altercation with locals in South Korea and was forced to serve approximately two months in a South Korean detention facility. King was released on July 10 and was expected to be sent to Fort Bliss in Texas, where he could have faced additional military discipline and discharge from the service, when he fled North and was detained by North Korean authorities. Throughout the time he was held at the South Korean facility, he made comments that he did not want to come back to America, according to a U.S. official. North Korean state media reported King decided to cross into the totalitarian country because of "inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination within the U.S. Army." US 'WORKING VERY HARD' TO DETERMINE CAPTURED SOLDIER TRAVIS KING'S STATUS IN NORTH KOREA, DIPLOMAT SAYS King's mother, through her spokesperson, disputed the reports from North Korea. King has faced at least two other assault-related allegations in South Korea, according to a transcript of the verdict obtained by The Associated Press. In February, a court fined him $3,950 after being convicted of assaulting an unidentified person and damaging a police vehicle in Seoul last October. King was the first American soldier to cross the Demilitarized Zone separating the Koreas in decades. Fox News’ Timothy H.J. Nerozzi and Liz Friden and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
28 Eylül 2023 - 13:00
US soldier Travis King back on American soil after being freed by North Korea
U.S. Army Pvt. Travis King has returned to American soil, landing in Texas early Thursday morning following more than 70 days in North Korean detainment.
28 Eylül 2023 - 13:00