Status: 27/09/2023, 16:03 p.m.
North Korea wants to expel a U.S. soldier from the country. © picture alliance / dpa
The crossing of the border into North Korea by a young U.S. soldier made headlines in July. For a long time it was unclear how the isolated country would deal with him. Now he is returning to the United States.
Seoul - Two months after his unauthorized border crossing from South to North Korea, a U.S. soldier is back in U.S. custody. Travis K. is in good health, is in China and will now be brought back to the United States, US authorities reported. Representatives of the US security circles thanked Sweden and China for their support in the release.
Earlier, North Korea reported that the country's authorities had decided to expel Travis K. The investigations have been completed. The U.S. soldier confessed "that he illegally entered the territory of the People's Republic." K. had been arrested in July after his conversion.
The 23-year-old is looking forward to seeing his family again, the U.S. officials said. There have been no agreements or concessions to North Korea, it said.
Differing figures from North Korea and the United States
North Korea first commented last month on the whereabouts of the U.S. soldier. As then, it was said again that Travis K. had complained during the interrogations about "the inhuman treatment and racial discrimination in the US Army" and therefore decided to cross the border. Because of "the unequal American society" he was disillusioned.
North Korea's account of the man's alleged motives could not be independently verified. The U.S. did not have direct access to Travis K. The two countries do not have diplomatic relations. North Korea, which is largely isolated internationally mainly because of its nuclear weapons program, has accused the United States of a hostile policy for decades.
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, the soldier was supposed to return home. In South Korea, he had spent a certain amount of time in a detention center for a crime. The U.S. has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea. In recent decades, Americans have repeatedly crossed the heavily fortified border with North Korea without permission. There they were usually sentenced to several years in prison and only released after long negotiations. Dpa