The United Nations Command (UNC) has initiated talks with North Korea regarding U.S. Army Pvt. Travis King, who crossed into North Korea from South Korea last week in the demilitarized zone (DMZ). Gen. Andrew Harrison, the deputy commander of UNC, stated that the case is under investigation, and there are ongoing communications between UNC and the Korean People's Army, CNN reports.
King is believed to be the first U.S. soldier to cross into North Korea since 1982 and had a history of assault and disciplinary issues.
The situation remains complex, and the UN Command is focused on ensuring King's welfare as the investigation proceeds. North Korea has acknowledged the communication initiated by UNC, but there has been no official response from the State Department or the U.S. military regarding the case.
King's actions have raised questions, as he was scheduled to return to the U.S. before crossing into North Korea. His motivations for crossing into North Korea, a country with which the U.S. has no diplomatic relations, remain unclear.
The UN Command, a multinational military force that includes the U.S., controls the South Korean side of the Joint Security Area (JSA), the only place where North and South Korea can meet for talks. However, King has not been seen or heard from publicly since the incident, and North Korea has not provided any information about his status.
He was supposed to be administratively separated from the service upon his return to the U.S. On the day of the incident, King claimed his passport was missing at the Incheon International Airport in Seoul, causing him to miss his flight and subsequently cross into North Korea during a scheduled tour to the JSA. The situation remains under investigation and closely monitored by all parties involved.