North Korea’s Move to Expel American Envoys

( – The United States government recently announced they have secured the release of U.S. Army soldier Travis King who sprinted into North Korea and was taken captive. It’s not known why King ran into the hostile nation but U.S. officials said they partnered with Sweden and received help from China to secure his release. Military personnel said they expect King to arrive back in the United States soon. Tensions with North Korea have been on the rise lately as North Korea supports Russia’s war against U.S.-backed Ukraine. There is also strain over North Korea’s growing nuclear program.

Jake Sullivan, the White House security adviser, thanked the “interagency team” for their work in getting King released. U.S. officials admit some surprise that North Korea was as amenable as they were in releasing King, they speculate officials in Pyongyang viewed the low-ranking 23-year old as having little value.

They speculate it was likely easier for them to simply let him go than try to force U.S. concessions in exchange for King’s release. King was released to Swedish officials who took him to the Chinese border where he was met by Nicholas Burns, Sweden’s ambassador to China, and at least one U.S. Defense Department official.

The Biden White House insists they did not give North Korea anything for the soldier, unlike the concessions they recently made to free six people from Iran. For his part King will have to answer for why he went AWOL (absent without leave) and ran into North Korea. It is expected that King, who was described as being in “good spirits” upon his release, will have to undergo psychological assessments. Hy may be subject to jail time and a dishonorable discharge from the Army. North Korean media had put out stories that King, who is black, fled to their country because he was a victim of racial discrimination and inequality within American society. The White House did not address this narrative in any way.

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