Travis King lands in US after North Korea expels him
STORY: This is the moment U.S. Army Private Travis King landed at a military base in Texas on Thursday.
Arriving at Kelly Field air base in San Antonio, the 23-year-old can be seen disembarking with a group of people.
King was expelled from North Korea this week following a surprise dash across the militarized border in July.
State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller announced Private King’s return on Wednesday.
”The United States has secured the return of Private Travis King from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.”
The Swedish government retrieved King in North Korea and brought him over the border into China, where he was taken into U.S. custody.
”I would not want to speculate on any motivations on the North Korean side. And I don't know that I would take from this... herald some breakthrough in diplomatic relations. Obviously, we're pleased to have secured his return. We're very thankful for the government of Sweden for their work as the protecting power that they did to help facilitate his transfer back to the United States.”
At the time of his border crossing in July, King had been transported by the U.S. military to the airport to return to his home unit in the United States.
Instead, he left the airport and joined a tour of the Joint Security Area on the heavily fortified border between North and South Korea where he ran across despite attempts by South Korean and U.S. guards to stop him.
His shocking case triggered heated discussions within the U.S. government, but Washington declined to declare him a prisoner of war.
Instead, North Korea appears to have treated his case like one of illegal immigration.
Pyongyang has said he was seeking refuge due to racial discrimination within the U.S. army.
A spokesperson for King's mother expressed her gratitude to the Army for securing her son’s release.
U.S. officials told reporters he appeared to be in good health and spirits.
He is now expected to undergo a medical review at a nearby army center.
A U.S. official declined to answer directly whether King would face a court martial.
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