Seoul — North Korea is expelling US private Travis King, two months after he entered the country without authorization, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported on Wednesday, citing North Korean state media.
When he will have to leave the country was not disclosed.
On July 18, the soldier crossed the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea, which are still officially at war since a conflict in the 1950s.
According to the US Department of Defence, King had completed his deployment and should have returned home after spending time in a South Korean detention centre, the Pentagon had said in August when they launched an investigation into the case.
The Pentagon did not give details about the background of his detention, however South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that the soldier had refused to pay fines for kicking and damaging a police car in Seoul.
He had been threatened with “additional administrative measures” in the US.
The soldier had been escorted to the airport but disappeared before boarding the plane.
He later joined a commercial tour of the border, where he broke away from the group and crossed the DMZ.
It took until mid-August for Pyongyang to confirm King’s whereabouts.
Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in August reported that the soldier crossed into the country “as he harboured ill feeling against inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination within the US Army.”
According to statements from Pyongyang, the soldier expressed a desire to seek refuge in North Korea or a third country.
North Korea, which is largely isolated internationally mainly because of its nuclear weapons programme, does not have diplomatic ties to the United States.
King’s alleged motives therefore could not be independently verified.
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