US soldier Travis King arrives in Texas after release from North Korea
BY PHIL STEWART AND EVAN GARCIA |
US Army Private Travis King landed at a US military base in Texas early on Thursday after being expelled from North Korea following his surprise dash across the heavily militarised border two months ago, CNN reported.
King arrived on a US military flight, landing at Kelly Field at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, CNN cited a US defense department official as saying. Television footage showed a group of people leaving a plane at the base. US officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
King is expected to undergo a medical review at Brooke Army Medical Center, a hospital at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. Basketball star Brittney Griner was treated there in December after a prisoner swap with Russia ended her 10 months in Russian detention.
The US government has said that upon his return King will first undergo evaluation then a reintegration process so he can be reunited with his family. King, 23, ran into North Korea from the South on July 18 while on a civilian tour of the heavily fortified border and was immediately taken into North Korean custody.
It was unclear if King will face disciplinary action by the US Army, which has treated his case with care. The Army so far not called him a deserter, even though he crossed the border without authorisation while on active duty.
For its part, North Korea appears to have treated his case as one of illegal immigration.
North Korea’s KCNA state news agency said King told Pyongyang he entered North Korea illegally because he was “disillusioned about unequal US society.”
The Swedish government, which represents US interests in North Korea because Washington has no diplomatic presence in the country, retrieved King in North Korea and brought him to China.