Soldier fled into North Korea due to racism in US army, says Pyongyang

Soldier fled into North Korea due to racism in US army, says Pyongyang

This is first public acknowledgement by North Korea about US soldier

By Riyaz ul Khaliq

ISTANBUL (AA) – North Korea on Wednesday said the US soldier, who crossed into its territory last month from the South, is "seeking refuge" due to "racial discrimination within" the American military.

This is the first public acknowledgement by Pyongyang about Travis King, a private 2nd class of the US Army who crossed into North Korea from South Korea during a visit to the joint security area of Panmunjom.

In July, King “illegally intruded into the territory of the DPRK,” Pyongyang-based KCNA reported, referring to the official name of North Korea as Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

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

During the investigation, the report said: “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.”

King was accompanying tourists to Panmunjom, it added.

​​​​​​​Pyongyang is continuing investigation into the issue.

Soon after the UN forces guarding the area revealed the news of King crossing into North Korea, Washington had said it has not engaged in any significant communication with North Korea concerning the American soldier.

However, US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said: "We have made outreach to North Korea to let them know that we wanted to ascertain the whereabouts of Private King, we wanted information about his safety, but we have not received any response from them at all.”

King was reportedly on his way back to the US to face disciplinary action after spending time in a South Korean military prison on assault charges.

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