- US Soldier Expelled from North Korea
- Undergoing Mental Health Assessments
- Uncertain Punishment, Reunited with Family
After being expelled from North Korea after a two-month detention, U.S. soldier Travis King is undergoing physical examinations at a base in Texas.
The exams “assess his emotional and mental health,” a Pentagon spokesman said Thursday, hours after he landed in San Antonio.
In July, the reconnaissance specialist, age 23, unlawfully entered North Korea from South Korea.
Officials have not disclosed what discipline or punishment he may face.
Before being transported to the Brooke Army Medical Centre, Pvt. King was observed descending at Lackland Air Force Base at 01:30 EST (05:30 GMT) at 01:30 he was taken to the Brooke Army Medical Centre.
On video, he was captured exiting the aircraft and conversing with individuals on the tarmac.
“He will undergo medical screenings, medical evaluations, and then meet with professionals to assess his emotional and mental health,” Sabrina Singh, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told reporters, adding that he will also be reunited with his family.
She said he will “be debriefed by U.S. military officials.” and declined to estimate the “reintegration programme” timeframe.
Following her nearly 10-month detention in Russia, basketball star Britney Griner received medical treatment at the same base.
Mrs. Singh told reporters, “We’re primarily concerned with his health and reuniting him with his family.”
US Army spokesman Bryce Dubee added, “The Army is currently focused on ensuring the well-being and privacy of the soldier.”
“His status will be addressed at a later time by the chain of command,” he continued.
While detained by Pyongyang, North Korean media reported that he fled into North Korean territory due to “inhuman treatment” and prejudice in the United States military.
Swedish officials negotiated his release and brought Pvt. King to the North Korean-Chinese frontier.
A “constructive role” but “did not mediate” the release, US Ambassador Nicholas Burns told Pvt King in China.
Since the US and North Korea have no diplomatic relations, the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang has negotiated for the US.
During the negotiations, a Swedish embassy spokesman confirmed on Wednesday that Stockholm had acted “within its role as a protective power” for the United States in North Korea.
The US Army Soldier Pvt. King was on assignment when he crossed the North Korean border.
Since joining the Army in January 2021, he has been stationed in South Korea as part of a rotation.
Before sprinting into North Korea, Private King had served two months in South Korean detention for assaulting two persons and kicking a police car.
On July 10, he was released from detention, eight days before he crossed the border into North Korea.