North Korea confirms custody of U.S. soldier Travis King

August 16, 2023
North Korea's monument to Party Founding

Travis King admitted that he illegally intruded into the territory of the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea].

North Korean state-run media acknowledging the U.S. soldier who chose to cross the border into North Korea in July.

Why It Matters: United States Army Private 2nd Class Travis King (23) unexpectedly and purposefully crossed over into North Korea territory in July. While the U.S. and United Nations have reached out to North Korea since then, Wednesday marks the first time the isolated nation has provided a public and more in-depth acknowledgement of King. The quotes attributed to King cannot be verified, as no one has heard directly from him since he crossed into North Korea.

From North Korea: The statement says that 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 U.S. Army. He also expressed his willingness to seek refugee in the DPRK or a third country."

From King's Family and U.S. Authorities: A spokesperson for the family shared that King's mother "is aware of today’s 'report' from KCNA. DPRK authorities are responsible for Travis’ well-being, and she continues to appeal to them to treat him humanely. She’s a mom worried about her son and would be grateful for a phone call from him." A Department of Defense spokesperson said, "We can’t verify these alleged comments," but they "remain focused on his safe return. The Department’s priority is to bring Private King home, and that we are working through all available channels to achieve that outcome."

North Korea confirms custody of U.S. soldier Travis King, who crossed DMZ in July

by Jenna Lee,