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The detained US soldier returned home

Travis King, the US soldier who fled across the border from South Korea into North Korea in July, is back in US custody, the White House informed Wednesday.

North Korea had no difficulty saying it would expel soldier Travis King from the country, which surprised the public: many had expected the opposite. Pyongyang decided that it would get more unpleasant consequences than positive ones from an ordinary American soldier, who, in general, is of no value – that is how US officials explained the phenomenon to themselves.

In fact, Sweden played an immense role in this situation: Travis King was met by Swedish and American ambassadors and a US Defence Department official. Immediately upon his return, Sullivan said the following:

We thank the government of Sweden for its diplomatic role serving as the protecting power for the United States in the DPRK and the government of the People’s Republic of China for its assistance in facilitating the transit of Private King.

The United States discreetly thanked Beijing for assistance with the transfer, but noted its lack of role in securing the soldier’s release.

Despite Sweden’s diplomatic successes, Washington simultaneously claimed the White House would not – under any circumstances – accept any leniency from Korea to return the soldier.

The return of Travis King does not promise him a bright future. It has been already mentioned that he will be given medical assistance to reintegrate him into American society, but will that help him? The US has declared him the deserter, which could lead to a dishonourable discharge or imprisonment in a provost prison.

One senior administration official said that King was “very happy” to be on his way back to the United States. Travis’ mother also confirmed the same, noting that he had reasons to go back.

However, on Wednesday, the Korean Central News Agency released a report that included the words of Travis King, which he used to say that the sole purpose of his escape to North Korea was based on the fact that the US military had been steeped in racial discrimination, inhumane treatment, and an unequal American society.

American officials have expressed concern about King, recalling that North Korea has repeatedly mistreated American prisoners (the case in 2017 of Otto Warmbier). This was the reason for the surprise that North Korea, which has strained relations with the States, released King 71 days after his imprisonment. The White House attributed this, as mentioned, to Pyongyang’s reluctance to have an unnecessary burden on its back, since King was of little value.

This did not affect the relationship between the White House and Pyongyang. Soon, the US publicly accused North Korea of supplying ammunition to Russia to continue its war with Ukraine; allegedly Moscow is pushing its neighbour for the most meaningful assistance.

Putin and Kim Jong Un recently held talks in Russia’s Far East.

The Biden administration, in addition, downplayed the likelihood of a change for the better between the US and the DPRK, but mentioned that they were still ready for diplomatic talks.


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