Mom casts doubt on theory her US soldier son defected to N. Korea after being jailed in S. Korea

An American soldier who had been serving time in a South Korean prison fled into North Korea after being released on the 10th, raising concerns that he’s chosen to defect — though his mother has cast suspicion on that theory.

U.S. Army Private 2nd Class Travis King had served in the military for two years without issue up until he allegedly recently kicked a South Korean squad car, damaging it and earning himself a 47-day sentence behind bars.

Upon his release from prison on July 10th, he was “escorted by the military to Incheon International Airport outside Seoul, the capital, for possible further disciplinary action in the United States,” according to NBC News.

But instead of flying back home like he was supposed to do, King “joined a commercial tour group headed for the Joint Security Area.”

“The truce village, also known as Panmunjom, is about an hour and a half from the airport and is the only place along the approximately 155-mile Demilitarized Zone where North and South Korea interact,” NBC News notes.

At one point during the tour, King bolted from the group and was spotted “running what looked like full gas towards the North Korean side,” an eyewitness said.

He made it across and is now believed to be in North Korean custody.

What remains unclear is why he’s risked it all by doing something so foolish, given as North Korea is a rogue regime known for mistreating EVERYBODY, including its own citizens.

Speaking with ABC News, all his mother, Claudine Gates, would say was that she couldn’t imagine her son doing something so bizarre.

“I can’t see Travis doing anything like that,” were her exact words.

“Gates said the Army told her on Tuesday morning that King had crossed into North Korea. She said she last heard from her son ‘a few days ago,’ when he told her would return soon to his base in Fort Bliss. She added she just wants ‘him to come home,'” according to ABC News.

There’s just one problem: North Korea has neither acknowledged the incident nor commented on it.

As for King’s potential fate, The New York Times warns that it’ll depend entirely “on whether North Korea … will treat him as a defector or as an illegal trespasser.”

Were the hermit kingdom to treat him as an illegal trespasser, that could pose some serious issues for King.

The last time an American committed an offense against the North Korean regime, that American, Otto Frederick Warmbier, wound up dead.

All this comes amid North Korea launching two short-range ballistic missiles, both of which landed in the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

“The missiles were launched from North Korea’s Sunan area, JCS said, and were fired in the early morning on Wednesday local time. After flying about 550 kilometers each, the missiles landed in the sea, it added,” CNN reported.

The missiles were reportedly launched in retaliation for the U.S. deploying a nuclear sub to South Korea.

“After the U.S. submarine arrived in South Korea, in the early hours of Wednesday local time, the prime minister of Japan said North Korea launched” the missiles, ABC News confirmed.

As for King, members of the public are not very sanguine about his potential fate …


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Vivek Saxena


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