In a major development, North Korea said it will expel US Soldier Travis King who had crossed the border from South Korea illegally in July, state media KCNA said on Wednesday. According to the report, the decision has been taken after conducting a full investigation into his border crossing in July. It claimed that King harboured ill feelings over inhumane treatment and racial discrimination within the US army.
Citing the statement released by Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un government, state media KCNA reported that King had expressed “his willingness to seek refugee” in North Korea or a third country. However, it did not elaborate on details about whether the US soldier would be shifted within the country or would be deported to the US.
Earlier in August this year, a similar claim were also released by the North Korean news agency.
Story so far
The United States, South Korea and others have accused North Korea of using foreign detainees to wrest diplomatic concessions. Some foreign detainees have said after their releases that their declarations of guilt while in North Korean custody were made under coercion.
A US Defense Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said the U.S. had no way to verify North Korea’s claims about King. The official said the Pentagon was working through all available channels to bring King back to the US.
“This is 100% North Korean propaganda in its element. King, as an American citizen held in North Korea, has no sway in how (North Korea) chooses to cast its narrative,” said Soo Kim, an expert with Virginia-based consultancy LMI and a former CIA analyst.
Travis King's mom appeals to North to treat her son humanely
“As for King’s release, his fate rests in North Korea’s hands. Perhaps the regime will try to ‘bargain’ King’s life in exchange for financial concessions from the U.S. More than likely, negotiations won’t be easy, and terms will be dictated by Pyongyang,” she said.
The soldier’s family said his mother, Claudine Gates, is appealing to North Korea to treat her son humanely.