Nearly a full month after the bizarre defection incident involving US Army soldier Travis King, North Korea has for the first time belatedly acknowledged it has King in custody.
King, a private in the US Army, was attending a guided tour of the Joint Security Area inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating North and South Koreas, before he broke from the group and sprinted across the border. North Korea, not willing to waste a good propaganda moment, said the US soldier felt "disillusioned" with an "unequal American society."
King, while being questioned, has reportedly claimed 'racism' in the army and American society. State media KCNA said he told North Korean officials during questioning that he "harbored ill feeling against inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination within the US Army," per a translation.
He said he was "disillusioned at the unequal American society," and decided to seek refuge in North Korea or another country outside the reach of Washington authorities, KCNA claimed.
But despite the supposed "racism" rationale, King was actually facing disciplinary and legal action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). He has already spent tow months in a South Korean jail for assault, as Reuters reviews:
An eyewitness had said King was actually laughing as he bolted from the group and cross the border. By all appearances, he simply wanted to escape further legal action awaiting him in the US and will now disguise his actions as "noble"... because "racism".
#FPVideo: #NorthKorea said that #USSoldier #TravisKing who crossed over to North Korea from #SouthKorea last month, confessed to seeking refuge from "inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination within the U.S. Army". pic.twitter.com/E813gdXmoN— Firstpost (@firstpost) August 16, 2023
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in a statement after King's entering North Korea said the army private did it "willfully and without authorization." US officials have made repeat attempts to contact Pyongyang over his fate but to no avail.
Likely the Kim Jong-Un government will continue to use King as a propaganda tool, and might soon even parade him in front of cameras, especially if he is a willing participant.