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

His return was organized with the assistance of ally Sweden and rival China, in accordance with the White Home.

SAN ANTONIO — The American soldier who sprinted into North Korea 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., in accordance with the Pentagon.

North Korea abruptly introduced a day earlier that it could expel Pte. Travis King. His return was organized with the assistance of ally Sweden and rival China, in accordance with the White Home.

Whereas officers have mentioned King, 23, is in good well being and the rapid focus will probably be on caring for him and reintegrating him into U.S. society, his troubles are probably 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, changing into the primary American confirmed to be detained within the remoted nation in practically 5 years. On the time, he was speculated 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 North Koreans makes that extra sophisticated.

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

Video aired by a Texas information station confirmed King strolling off a airplane. Wearing a darkish high and pants, he might be seen talking briefly with folks ready on the tarmac. He shook fingers 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, help for Russia’s conflict in Ukraine and different points — agreed to show him over.

The White Home has not addressed North Korean state media studies 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 not possible.

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 no less than 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 quick by North Korean requirements.

A number of latest American detainees had been held for over a yr — 17 months within the case of Otto Warmbier, a school pupil who was arrested throughout a gaggle tour. Warmbier was in a coma when he was deported, and later died.

North Korea 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 North Korea 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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