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Business News/ News / World/  ‘Travis King wants refuge from racism in US’: North Korea
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‘Travis King wants refuge from racism in US’: North Korea

Travis King seeks refuge in North Korea due to ‘inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination’ in the US and military.

US Army soldier Travis King. (Reuters)Premium
US Army soldier Travis King. (Reuters)

North Korea concluded that Travis King wants refuge here or in another country due to ‘inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination’ in the United States and the military, said state media on Wednesday as quoted by the news agency Reuters. 

Notably, this was Pyongyang's first public acknowledgment of Travis King's crossing from South Korea on July 18. He dashed into the North while on a civilian tour of the Joint Security Area (JSA), the heavily fortified border between the two Koreas.

According to US officials, Travis King crossed the borders intentionally but they refused to classify him as a prisoner of war. In addition, North Korean investigators also concluded that King deliberately and illegally crossed the borders with an intent to stay in the North. 

"During the investigation, Travis 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," KCNA reported, using the initials of North Korea's official name, Reuters reported. 

“King was kept under control by soldiers of the Korean People's Army after his crossing and the investigation is still active," KCNA said. 

In August, King's uncle Myron Gates informed ABC News that his nephew was experiencing racism during his military deployment and that after he spent time in a South Korean jail, he did not sound like himself.

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul said, “Mentioning King's willingness to seek refuge in North Korea or a third country shows that it's still unclear where he wants to go."

"It raises the possibility for North Korea to send him to a third country, where U.S. officials can pick up and bring him home if he wishes," said Tae Yong-ho, a former North Korean diplomat and now a South Korean lawmaker as quoted by Reuters. 

North Korea has not made any public statements regarding the individual named King, who crossed the border last Tuesday while he was supposed to be heading to Fort Bliss, Texas.

US officials have expressed worry about his safety and have previously stated that North Korea has been unresponsive to their inquiries for information about him.

 

(With Reuters inputs)

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Published: 16 Aug 2023, 10:13 AM IST
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