(MENAFN- AsiaNet News) In what comes as a major development, North Korea has announced its decision to expel US soldier Travis King, who illegally crossed the border from South Korea in July. The state media KCNA reported this decision on Wednesday, following a comprehensive investigation into his border crossing earlier this year.
North Korea claims that King harbored feelings of discontent regarding the alleged inhumane treatment and racial discrimination he faced within the US army.
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According to reports citing a statement from Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un's government, King had expressed his willingness to seek refuge either in North Korea or a third country. However, the statement did not provide specifics about whether the US soldier would be relocated within North Korea or deported to the United States.
This move by North Korea echoes a similar claim made in August of this year by the North Korean news agency.
Accusations have been made by the United States, South Korea, and other countries that North Korea uses foreign detainees to leverage diplomatic concessions. Some individuals, upon their release, have stated that any declarations of guilt made while in North Korean custody were made under duress.
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A US Defense Department official, speaking anonymously due to the sensitive nature of the matter, emphasized that the US currently lacks a means to independently verify North Korea's claims regarding Travis King. The official stated that the Pentagon is actively pursuing all available channels to facilitate King's return to the United States.
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