North Korea suddenly decides to expel US soldiers who defected to North Korea after 71 days… why?

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North Korea announced on the 27th that it had decided to expel Private Travis King (23), a US soldier stationed in South Korea, who crossed the Military Demarcation Line without permission on July 18 and defected to North Korea. It has been 71 days since Private King defected to North Korea.

North Korea’s state-run media, the Korean Central News Agency, reported on this day, “The investigation into Travis King, an American soldier who was detained after illegally entering the (North Korean) territory from the Joint Security Area in Panmunjom, has been completed,” and “A decision has been made to deport him in accordance with the laws of the Republic.” did. Regarding Private King’s background in defecting to North Korea, North Korea claimed, “He confessed to illegally entering the compound due to his antipathy toward the inhumane abuse and racial discrimination he received within the U.S. military and his disillusionment with the unequal American society.”

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Private King visited the Joint Security Area (JSA) in Paju, Gyeonggi-do on a security tour in July, but crossed the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) without permission and defected to North Korea. While on duty in Korea, Private King was fined for being drunk and violent towards a civilian in Seoul, and was later arrested by the police for destroying a parked car while drunk. Accordingly, he was in the process of being repatriated to his country to face a military trial in the United States. The United Nations Command, which has jurisdiction over the JSA, has been holding talks with North Korea for repatriation through a hotline since immediately after defecting to North Korea.

Our government believes that North Korea expelled Private King because it judged that sending him back to his home country would be more beneficial than keeping him with him and using him for regime propaganda. There is a high possibility that they viewed it as less valuable to use as a bargaining chip with the United States. A senior government official said, “Private King’s rank is low, so there is not much information for North Korea to find out, but if he gets sick or harms himself, North Korea could be condemned by the international community for violating human rights.” There has been criticism from the international community since American college student Otto Warmbier died shortly after being repatriated to the United States in 2017 after being detained in North Korea for 17 months.

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Source: Donga

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