The decade's most triggering comedy
The American soldier who ran across the border into North Korea in July is back in U.S. custody after being expelled from the communist regime Wednesday, a U.S. official confirmed.
A North Korean state news agency reported that the government closed its investigation into U.S. Army soldier Travis King, 23, deciding to expel the American who was taken into custody by the DPRK after sprinting across the heavily guarded demilitarized zone (DMZ) line in July while on a civilian tour. A U.S. official confirmed that King is now in U.S. custody, according to POLITICO reporter Lara Seligman.
“The relevant organ of the DPRK decided to expel Travis King, a soldier of the U.S. Army who illegally intruded into the territory of the DPRK, under the law of the Republic,” North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said, according to South Korean news outlet Yonhap News Agency.
King, who had reportedly been disciplined for assault in South Korea and was set to be removed from the U.S. military, allegedly told the North Koreans that he fled into the country because he “harbored ill feelings against inhuman mistreatment and racial discrimination within the U.S. Army” and “was disillusioned at the unequal American society.”
The alleged remarks made by King after entering the Hermit Kingdom could not be verified by the Pentagon and were reported by a North Korean media arm that releases statements tailored to the communist regime’s wishes, which usually involves painting the U.S. as an evil empire. The U.S. State Department said it remained committed to getting King out of the country and back home, saying last month it was “working through all available channels to achieve that outcome.”
North Korea did not specify when or how King would be expelled.
Prior to crossing into North Korea, King was involved in at least two separate episodes where Korean police were brought in to intervene, including incidents in September and October 2022.
In September, King had a case settled after he was accused of punching a man in the face at a South Korean club. The following month, he was accused of acting aggressively toward police officers responding to a call about a fight, court documents obtained by Reuters show.
He spent almost two months in detention for the assault charge, according to The Associated Press. The news agency reported that he had been released on July 10. Officials have said that King was going to be sent back to America before he crossed into North Korea.
Leif Le Mahieu contributed to this report.
This article has been updated to include that an American official confirmed King is in U.S. custody.