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American soldier who bolted into North Korea 2 months ago has returned to the U.S.

SAN ANTONIO (AP) – The American soldier who sprinted into NorthKorea throughout the closely fortified border between the Koreas greater than two months in the past was whisked to a Texas Military base Thursday for medical checks and interviews after his return to the U.S., based on the Pentagon.

NorthKorea abruptly introduced a day earlier that it could expel Pvt. Travis King. His return was organized with the assistance of ally Sweden and rival China, based on the White Home.

Whereas officers have stated King, 23, is in good well being and the fast focus will likely be on caring for him and reintegrating him into U.S. society, his troubles are seemingly removed from over.

King, who had served in South Korea, bumped into the North whereas on a civilian tour of a border village on July 18, turning into the primary American confirmed to be detained within the remoted nation in almost 5 years. On the time, he was purported to be heading to Fort Bliss, Texas, following his launch from jail in South Korea on an assault conviction.

He was declared AWOL from the Military, however not thought-about a deserter. Punishment for going AWOL can range, and it relies upon partly on whether or not the service member voluntarily returned or was apprehended. King’s two-month absence and supreme handover by the NorthKoreans makes that extra sophisticated.

King arrived within the early hours of Thursday at Lackland Air Pressure Base in San Antonio and was taken to Brooke Military Medical Middle, based on the Pentagon. He’ll bear an array of medical and psychological assessments and debriefings, and he can even get an opportunity to fulfill with household.

Video aired by a Texas information station confirmed King strolling off a airplane. Wearing a darkish prime and pants, he could possibly be seen talking briefly with individuals ready on the tarmac. He shook arms with one earlier than being led right into a constructing.

Many questions stay about King’s case, together with why he fled within the first place and why the North – which has tense relations with Washington over Pyongyang’s nuclear program, assist for Russia’s battle in Ukraine and different points – agreed to show him over.

The White Home has not addressed NorthKorean state media stories that King fled due to his dismay about racial discrimination and inequality within the army and U.S. society.

The North‘s official Korean Central Information Company reported that King made such complaints however verifying that’s unimaginable.

On Wednesday, Swedish officers took King to the Chinese language border, the place he was met by U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns, the Swedish ambassador to China, and a minimum of one U.S. Protection Division official.

He was then flown to a U.S. army base in South Korea earlier than heading to the U.S.

His detention was comparatively brief by NorthKorean requirements.

A number of current American detainees had been held for over a 12 months – 17 months within the case of Otto Warmbier, a university scholar who was arrested throughout a gaggle tour. Warmbier was in a coma when he was deported, and later died.

NorthKorea has typically been accused of utilizing American detainees as bargaining chips, and there had additionally been hypothesis that the North would attempt to maximize the propaganda worth of a U.S. soldier.

However analysts say King’s authorized troubles might have restricted his propaganda worth, and Biden administration officers insisted they offered no concessions to NorthKorea to safe his launch.

Lee and Baldor reported from Washington. Related Press author Kim Tong-Hyung contributed from Seoul, South Korea.

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