U.S. Army Pvt. Travis King crossed into the North from South Korea during a tour of the Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ.
9:13 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Two U.S. officials have confirmed that King is now in U.S. custody.
One official said King was transferred to American custody in China. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss King’s status ahead of the announcement, according to The Associated Press.
What will happen to King next is not clear. He was declared AWOL by the U.S. government which means he may have to serve time in a military jail, forfeit his pay or be given a dishonorable discharge, the AP reported.
Pyongyang will deport King having finished its investigation into his “illegal” entry, state news agency KNCA said.
“The relevant organ of the DPRK decided to expel Travis King, a soldier of the U.S. Army who illegally intruded into the territory of the DPRK, under the law of the Republic,” according to KCNA.
State media did not specify how, when or to where King would be expelled.
The U.N. Command said it would not give more details about the expulsion, as it “did not want to interfere with the efforts to bring him home.”
The U.N. Command polices the DMZ.
According to CNN, North Korea claimed that King “confessed that he illegally intruded into the territory of the DPRK as he harbored ill feeling against inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination within the U.S. army and was disillusioned about the unequal U.S. society.”
The news outlet said it could not confirm that King had made the statement.
King, 23, had served two months in detention in South Korea on assault charges before being released on July 10. He crossed over into North Korea on July 18 after sneaking away from an airport in Seoul, South Korea, where he was supposed to have boarded a flight back to the U.S.
Check back for more on this developing story.
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