Travis King, a U.S. soldier who crossed the border into North Korea is back in U.S. custody.
King was with a tour group in South Korea when he entered North Korea in July.
White House officials have confirmed King boarded a plane to the U.S. where he is expected to arrive shortly.
Who is Travis King?
King is a U.S. soldier who was detained in North Korea after “wilfully” crossing the border on 18 July.
He was on a tour of the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between South and North Korea – an area frequented by tourism groups.
King’s motives for entering North Korea are unclear. However, he reportedly spent time in a South Korean prison for assault, and was due to face further disciplinary action in the U.S.
North Korea response
North Korean state-run news agency KCNA said on Wednesday that King would be deported after the investigation into his “illegal” entry had finished.
It claimed that King crossed the border due to “inhumane abuse and racial discrimination within the U.S. military and disillusionment with the unequal American society”.
Travis King’s return
King was transported to North Korea’s border with China where he was met by the U.S. Ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns. Sweden helped facilitate King’s transfer.
He then flew to South Korea, where he boarded a plane to the U.S. due to touch down later today.
A U.S. State Department spokesperson thanked the Chinese and Swedish Governments for their help “facilitating the transfer” of King out of North Korea.
King’s return comes during heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.
Earlier this month, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. It’s believed they discussed the sale of North Korean weapons to further Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The U.S. Government threatened North Korea with additional penalties if they sold their weapons. North Korea and Russia are already subject to several U.S. sanctions.