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US soldier detained by North Korea, US official says

North Korea's Kim Jong Un. (KCNA/Xinhua via Zuma Press/TNS)
July 18, 2023

North Korea detained an American soldier Tuesday after the soldier crossed crossed the Military Demarcation Line, according to a senior U.S. official.

The United Nations Command announced Tuesday, “A U.S. National on a JSA orientation tour crossed, without authorization, the Military Demarcation Line into the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).”

According to the United Nations Command, the American is believed to be detained in North Korea. The U.N. noted that it is “working with our Korean People’s Army counterparts to resolve this incident.”

According to the New York Post, South Korea’s Dong-a Ilbo newspaper cited South Korea’s army and identified the American citizen as Travis King, a U.S. Army member ranked private second class.

READ MORE: North Korean college student goes missing in Russian Far East

An eyewitness who claimed to be a part of the same tour group as King told CBNS News that the tour group had just finished touring a building near the Military Demarcation Line when “this man gives out a loud ‘ha ha ha,’ and just runs in between some buildings.”

“I thought it was a bad joke at first, but when he didn’t come back, I realized it wasn’t a joke, and then everybody reacted and things got crazy,” the eyewitness added.

According to the witness, military personnel quickly reacted to the situation despite the initial confusion surrounding the incident. After King allegedly ran across the Military Demarcation Line, the tour group was reportedly transported back to the Freedom House in order to provide statements before departing on the group’s tour bus.

“I’m telling you this because it actually hit me quite hard,” the eyewitness told CBS News. “It was on the way back in the bus, and we got to one of the checkpoints…. Someone said we were 43 going in and 42 coming back.”

According to Fox News, the U.S. State Department has advised American citizens not to travel to North Korea as a result of “the continuing serious risk or arrest and long-term detention of U.S. Nationals.”

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.