(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – A man detained in North Korea is a United States soldier who entered the country “willfully and without authorization” by crossing the military demarcation line, according to officials.
The United Nations Command, which has helped oversee the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between South Korea and North Korea since an armistice ended fighting in the 1950-1953 Korean War, said on Tuesday the individual had been taking part in a tour when he crossed into North Korea.
“A U.S. National on a JSA orientation tour crossed, without authorization, the Military Demarcation Line into the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),” the command said, referring to North Korea’s official name.
“We believe he is currently in DPRK custody and are working with our KPA counterparts to resolve this incident,” the UN Command added, referring to North Korea’s People’s Army.
Later on Tuesday, Colonel Isaac Taylor, a spokesperson for the US Armed Forces in Korea, confirmed that a military member “willfully and without authorization” crossed the demarcation line.
The US military identified the soldier as Private Second Class Travis T King.