The North Korean government has released a U.S. serviceman after holding him in detainment since July.
The North Korean government stated Wednesday it was planning the return of U.S. Army Pvt. Travis King to U.S. custody following months of imprisonment, according to state-run news agencies.
“The relevant organ of the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] decided to expel Travis King, a soldier of the U.S. Army who illegally intruded into the territory of the DPRK, under the law of the Republic,” state media outlet Korean Central News Agency wrote, according to translations provided by Yonhap News Agency.
Fox News Digital has confirmed that King has been turned over to U.S. custody.
King has been held by North Korean authorities since July 18, when he reportedly sprinted away from a tour group into the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea.
Since his capture, there has been no contact with King, and North Korean officials have been intentionally obtuse in responding to U.S. inquiries.
The incident happened after King finished approximately two months in a South Korean detention facility following a physical altercation with locals, a senior defense official told Fox News on Tuesday. Throughout the time he was held at the facility, he made comments that he did not want to come back to America, according to a U.S. official.
King was eventually released on July 10 and was sent home Monday to Fort Bliss, where he could have faced additional military discipline and discharge from the service. King has faced at least two other assault-related allegations in South Korea.
In February, a court fined him $3,950 after being convicted of assaulting an unidentified person and damaging a police vehicle in Seoul last October, according to a transcript of the verdict obtained by The Associated Press.
North Korea’s state media reported that King confessed to crossing into the North because of “inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination within the U.S. Army.”
“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. “He also expressed his willingness to seek refuge in the DPRK or a third country, saying that he was disillusioned at the unequal American society.”
King’s mother disputed the reports from North Korea, saying that her son had no motivation to defect to the totalitarian nation.