Two months after crossing the border into North Korea without permission, a US soldier has to leave the country again. The authorities there have expelled Travis K. from the country, as the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported, citing state media in the neighboring country. The reason given was that the soldier had entered the People’s Republic illegally. It was initially unclear when he would leave the country.
According to US forces in South Korea, the soldier took part in a commercial tour along the South Korean part of the demilitarized zone in July and then intentionally crossed the border with North Korea. As the US Department of Defense later announced, the soldier was actually supposed to return home. In South Korea he had spent a certain amount of time in a detention center for a crime. According to media reports, it was two months because of an assault.
North Korea first commented on the whereabouts of the young American in mid-August. He is said to have stated that he defected to North Korea out of anger over “the inhumane treatment and racial discrimination in the US Army.” According to the government in Pyongyang, the soldier, who is black, expressed a desire to seek refuge in North Korea or a third country. This account of the man’s alleged motives could not be independently verified. The US had no direct access to him. The countries do not have diplomatic relations with each other.