Pvt. Travis King, a cavalry scout who enlisted in the military in January 2021, has been identified as the US soldier who crossed into North Korea, according to the US Army.
King, who was on a civilian tour of a border area, entered North Korea on Tuesday under unclear circumstances. This incident occurred during a period of strained diplomacy and increased military tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Col. Isaac Taylor, the spokesperson for US Forces Korea, stated that the soldier “willfully and without authorization” crossed the demarcation line in the Joint Security Area (JSA), a buffer zone between North and South Korea. Taylor also mentioned that efforts were underway to resolve the situation in collaboration with the Korean People’s Army.
The motive behind King’s decision to cross the border remains unknown. However, an army official informed CNN that the private was facing disciplinary action for assault and was set to be administratively separated from the US Army.
Claudine Gates, King’s mother, expressed shock upon learning that her son had crossed into North Korea. Gates told ABC that she had recently spoken to her son, who had informed her of his planned return to his base in Fort Bliss.
It has been reported by US officials that King spent around 50 days in a detention facility in South Korea, although the details of his confinement remain unclear.
According to one official, King was escorted to the airport for his return to the United States, but his escorts were unable to accompany him to the gate, and he did not board his flight.
The circumstances surrounding King’s subsequent participation in the JSA tour, organized by the United Nations Command, which oversees the area, remain uncertain. While the DMZ is heavily fortified, the JSA, where the actual border lies, does not have a physical barrier.