U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller has assured that the Biden Administration will continue to work to bring U.S. soldier Travis King, who crossed the border into North Korea, back to safety.
The White House, the Pentagon, we at the State Department and the UN are working together to obtain information regarding the welfare and whereabouts of Private King,” Miller said during a press conference.
“We are still gathering facts, and I want to make it very clear that the administration has and will continue to work actively to ensure his safety and return him home to his family,” the spokesman added.
In a note confirming what happened to Europa Press, a State Department spokesman said Tuesday that a U.S. serviceman “voluntarily and without authorization” crossed the Military Demarcation Line into North Korea.
King’s identity was confirmed by his mother on Wednesday, who said she was shocked after being notified that her son had crossed the border into North Korea. “I can’t imagine Travis doing something like this,” said Claudine Gates, a resident of Racine, Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, legal sources cited by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency revealed that King was sentenced to a fine of five million won (about 3,520 euros) in February after causing damage to a patrol car in the country’s capital, Seoul.
The man was accused of repeatedly slamming a vehicle door during an incident in October 2022 in Mapo district, where he was arrested. They also outlined that King did not cooperate with officers who asked him to identify himself and uttered insults against South Korea.
He was previously accused of punching a South Korean citizen in the face at a nightclub in September 2022, although he was not charged because the victim said he did not want the soldier to be punished, according to sources cited by Yonhap news agency.