News   /   Military   /   Koreas

US soldier sought asylum in N Korea to flee racism, injustice in army: Pyongyang

A TV screen shows a file picture of US soldier Travis King during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, July 24, 2023. (Photo by AP)

The African American soldier that crossed the border from South Korea last month to seek asylum in the North did so to escape “inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination” in the US military, Pyongyang has declared.

The statement, released Wednesday by North Korea’s official KCNA news agency, are the country’s first public assertions on the defection of the South Korea-based US soldier Travis King, who crossed into North Korea on July 18 while on a tourist tour of the Joint Security Area (JSA) that separates the two rival countries.

The statement further noted that King had confessed to crossing the border illegally, intending to remain in North Korea or in a third country.

 “During the investigation, Travis King confessed that he had decided to come over to the DPRK as he harbored ill feeling against inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination within the US Army,” KCNA reported, using the acronym for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“He also expressed his willingness to seek refuge in the DPRK or a third country, saying that he was disillusioned at the unequal American society,” the report added.

According to the report, the 23-year-old US army service member was “kept under control by soldiers of the Korean People’s Army” after his crossing and the investigation into his escape continues.

The disgruntled US soldier, who had just been released from detention after spending nearly two months in a South Korean jail for alleged assault charges, was being escorted to the airport to fly to the US to face additional disciplinary actions at Fort Bliss, Texas.

The US Defense Department claimed it could not verify King’s comments as reported by KCNA and remains focused on his safe return. It did not elaborate on whether it had heard more details from North Korea.

King’s uncle, Myron Gates, was cited this month by US media as confirming that his nephew had experienced racism during his military deployment and, after being held in jail, did not sound like himself.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku