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Pentagon confirms new details on US Army soldier who ran into North Korea

Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder holds a press briefing, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Jan. 17, 2023. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)
August 03, 2023

The Pentagon confirmed that North Korea responded to questions regarding U.S. Army Pvt. Travis King, who ran across the communist nation’s border during a tour in South Korea last month.

“As you’ve heard us say previously, United Nations Command did communicate or provide some communication via well-established communication channels through the Joint Security Agency,” Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters on Tuesday. “I can confirm that the DPRK has responded to United Nations Command but I don’t have any substantial progress to read out. And so I’d refer you to the UN Command for any further details.”

Last week, President Joe Biden’s State Department said there has not been any “new communications” over King, who was detained by North Korea.

“I saw the reports about contact between the U.N. Command and North Korea. It is my understanding that there have been no new communications since last week — communications that happened in the early days,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Monday.

“I think the reports may have resulted from a misinterpretation of the U.N. Command’s original statement, but I will leave it to them to discuss the details of that,” Miller added. “But I’m not aware of any new communications other than those that happened in the very early hours or early days after he went across the border.”

King’s mother, Claudine Gates, said she spoke with her son “a few days” before he dashed across the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea.

“I can’t see Travis doing anything like that,” Gates told ABC News.

King was reportedly being taken back to the United States to face disciplinary action when he ran into North Korea.

“Among other things, the administration will not want to see any other American die in North Korean captivity —even one who went there on his own volition,” said Patrick Cronin, the Asia-Pacific Security chair at the Hudson Institute.

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