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U.S. soldier detained by North Korea after entering north at border town

A US soldier undergoing disciplinary action by US forces is believed to have been detained in North Korea on Tuesday after illegally crossing the border that divides the two Koreas at the Joint Security Area in Panmunjom.

“What we do know is that one of the military personnel on the tour crossed the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) intentionally and without permission,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told a news conference. believes he is in North Korean custody.” Tuesday.

“Therefore, we are closely monitoring and investigating the situation and are working to notify the soldier’s next of kin,” he said. “My primary concern is the welfare of our military, so we will continue to focus on this.”

The soldier, identified by the Army as Private First Class Travis T. King, was held in a South Korean detention facility for about a month and a half for disciplinary action, US officials told VOA. I went to the airport to return to America, but I didn’t board the plane. The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse reported that King was recently released from a South Korean prison after serving time on assault charges.

Another official told VOA that the soldiers were due to travel to the United States to suspend their administrative separation from the U.S. military.

It is unclear how King Jr. moved from the secure area of ​​the airport to the border area.

Officials said the soldier took a tour to Panmunjom, a village on the South Korean border, where he fled across the border.

The United Nations Command, a multinational force stationed in the border village to maintain a moratorium on the 1950s Korean War, also said it was working with North Korean forces to “resolve the incident.”

The soldier in question suddenly crossed the official border north of the MDL around 3:27 pm local time on Tuesday, according to the South Korean daily. Chosun Ilbosaid, citing an anonymous source.

In the pre-coronavirus era, no shots seem to have been exchanged in a tense border town where soldiers from the north and south stood guard 24 hours a day.

The incident comes as the South Korean military continues to warn of possible provocations from North Korea after a U.S. nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine arrived at a port in the southern city of Busan on the same day.

The arrival of the USS Kentucky, capable of launching Trident II ballistic missiles with a range of 12,000 kilometers, is a highly symbolic move by the United States to stand by South Korea in the event of a North Korean nuclear attack.

White House Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell said Tuesday at a news conference in Seoul that it was the first visit by a U.S. nuclear submarine in decades.

Campbell is leading a 30-person delegation to formally launch the Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG) with Seoul. South Korea claims the initiative will strengthen the bilateral alliance into a nuclear-based alliance. This is the fulfillment of the promises made in April between US President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Seol-yeol, outlined in the Washington Declaration.

A joint statement after the inaugural meeting of the NCG said that a North Korean nuclear attack on the United States or its allies would “mean the end of its regime” and that a nuclear attack on South Korea would be “quickly dealt with.” , an overwhelming and decisive reaction. ”

VOA’s Korea Service contributed to this reportt.

https://www.voanews.com/a/us-soldier-in-north-korean-custody-after-crossing-into-north-at-border-town-/7186839.html U.S. soldier detained by North Korea after entering north at border town

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