News U.S.

US says working to free soldier who fled to North Korea

US says working to free soldier who fled to N.Korea

The United States said Wednesday it was committed to freeing an American soldier who crossed into North Korea, as it voiced caution on remarks attributed to him by Pyongyang.

In North Korea’s first comments about last month’s crossing of Travis King, state media said Tuesday that the soldier, who is Black, said he fled “racial discrimination” and bore “ill feeling” toward the US Army.

“We would caution everyone to consider the source here. That is incredibly important,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters when asked about King’s purported remarks.

“It doesn’t change anything. We want to make sure that he gets home safely,” she said.

At the State Department, spokesman Vedant Patel said the United States was “focused on his safe return.”

“Our priority is to bring Private King home through all available channels to achieve that outcome. And his well-being continues to be a top priority for us,” Patel said.

Patel said there has not been any contact with North Korea since Tuesday’s statement and that the United States was making efforts via Sweden, which represents the United States in Pyongyang.

The United States has previously said that King crossed the border at the Joint Security Area in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the North and the South “willfully and without authorization.”

North Korean propaganda often highlights racism in the United States.

King had been held by South Korean authorities over assault and was set to be returned to the United States — where he could have faced military discipline — before he slipped away to join a tourist trip to the DMZ.

About the author


Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

Daily Newsletter