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US soldier Travis King arrives back in Texas after North Korea expelled him for ‘trespassing’ into its territory

US Army Private Travis King arrived in Texas on Thursday at a US military base after being expelled from North Korea. It was previously reported that he had unexpectedly crossed the heavily militarised border two months ago.

A US defence spokesman says King arrived on a US military flight and landed at Kelly Field at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. King is expected to undergo a medical examination at Brooke Army Medical Centre that is on the same military base. King will undergo a reintegration process to be reunited with his family after a medical examination.

During a civilian tour along the heavily fortified border, King infiltrated North Korea from the South on 18 July and was immediately taken into North Korean custody.

The Army has not yet called him a deserter, although he crossed the border without authorisation while on active duty. The US Army has treated the case with caution and it is unclear whether King will face disciplinary action.

North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency reported that King told Pyongyang that he entered North Korea illegally because he was “frustrated with the unequal American society.” Apparently, North Korea views his case as a case of illegal immigration.

Washington has no diplomatic representation in North Korea, so the Swedish government, which represents US interests in North Korea, assisted the States in detaining King in North Korea and sending him to China.

US Ambassador to Beijing Nicholas Burns met King in the Chinese city of Dandong, which borders North Korea. From there, King flew to Shenyang, China, then to Osan Air Force Base in South Korea, travelling to the United States. King was charged in South Korea with two counts of assault. According to court documents, he pleaded guilty to one count of assault and defacing public property for damaging a police car while cursing at Koreans. He was to face further disciplinary action upon his return to the US.

In July, King finished serving his military sentence and was at the airport awaiting a US military transport to his home unit in the United States. However, he left the airport and went on a tour of the border area, where he was confronted by North Korean officials despite attempts by South Korean and US guards to stop him.


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