Over two months after U.S. Army soldier Travis King was detained by North Korea for crossing the border illegally, Pvt. King has been released from the country and is now in U.S. custody.
On Wednesday, the Korean Central News Agency stated that North Korean authorities had concluded their investigation into King.
“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,” the state media said.
A U.S. official told The Associated Press that King was “transferred to American custody in China.”
Who is Travis King?
King ran across the border between North Korea and South Korea on July 18, and was promptly detained by North Korea.
King is a private second class and cavalry scout with the 1st Armored Division who was arrested by South Korea for assault and was scheduled to be escorted back to the United States before he crossed into North Korea, the Deseret News previously reported.
A U.S. official told CBS News that King was being escorted back to the U.S. but, after going through airport security, returned to South Korea to join a border tour.
During the tour, King ran across the Military Demarcation Line, witnesses stated.
A report released by KCNA last month claims that King defected from the Army because he “harbored ill feeling against inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination within the U.S. Army.”
What will happen to Travis King next?
Though King has been released from North Korean custody, it is unclear what will happen to him next.
His release “almost certainly does not end his troubles or ensure the sort of celebratory homecoming that has accompanied the releases of other detained Americans,” The Associated Press reported.
King was previously declared AWOL by the U.S. government while he was in North Korea.
This means that King could face time in military jail, forfeiture of pay or a dishonorable discharge.