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The U.S. Is 'Working Very Hard' to Determine Status of U.S. Soldier Who Crossed into North Korea

The U.S. Is 'Working Very Hard' to Determine Status of U.S. Soldier Who Crossed into North Korea

The U.S. is "working very hard" to determine the status of U.S. Army Private Travis King, the soldier being held in North Korea after he crossed into the country during a tour.

U.S. Special Envoy for North Korea Sung Kim said officials are working to "ensure his safety and return," Fox News reports.

North Korean officials have not commented, and officials with the Korean People's Army have also not responded to requests from the Pentagon.

"The White House, the Pentagon, we here at the State Department, and the U.N. are all continuing to work together on this matter to ascertain information about the well-being and whereabouts of Private King," State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Wednesday.

"We are still gathering facts, and I want to be very clear that the administration has and will continue to actively work to ensure his safety and return him home to his family," he added. 

King is 23 and joined the Army in January 2021. According to a U.S. Army spokesperson, he is a cavalry scout with the 4th Infantry Division.

A U.S. Forces Korea spokesperson said King was on a joint security area orientation tour this week when he "willfully and without authorization crossed the Military Demarcation Line into the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)."

According to NPR, King was stationed in South Korea but had served two months in prison in the country for assault.

South Korean news sources said King punched a South Korean national in a club in the fall of 2022. He was also fined nearly $4,000 for yelling obscenities at police and kicking a police vehicle.

King was released to U.S. officials last week but failed to get on a scheduled flight back to the U.S. Instead, he broke away from a tour group near the border and ran into North Korea.

"I can't see Travis doing anything like that," his mother, Glaudine Gates, said.

"I'm so proud of him. I just want him to come home, come back to America," she added.

Photo courtesy: Pixabay

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.