U.S. Soldier Crossed Border To Escape Racism In Army, North Korea Says

Photo: Getty Images

Pvt. Travis King, the U.S. soldier who crossed into North Korea, was fleeing from abuse and racism in the U.S. military, according to a North Korean news agency.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea's only news agency, reported that King admitted to entering the country illegally last month due to "ill feeling against inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination within the U.S. Army," per NPR.

Prior to entering North Korea, King was in South Korea when he was arrested last October for allegedly assaulting a citizen, damaging police vehicles, and verbally abusing officers. U.S. officials said he was detained by South Korean authorities and was supposed to board a flight back to Fort Bliss, Texas, where he would've been potentially discharged from the army.

King skipped the flight and joined a guided tour during which he crossed the demilitarized zone and went into North Korea without authorization.

Since entering North Korea, King's exact whereabouts and well-being have remained unknown. KCNA's reporting marks North Korea's first public confirmation that King crossed the border.

King also said he sought refuge in North Korea because he was "disillusioned" about inequality in America, according to KCNA.

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