UN to hold talks with North Korea over fate of defector Travis King

Seoul, South Korea — The deputy commander-in-chief of the United Nations Forces said on Monday that he had started a dialogue with the United Nations forces. north korea About an American soldier Last week it crossed a heavily armed Korean border into North Korea..

General Andrew Harrison said the process was initiated through communications lines set up in the United States. North-South Joint Security Area Based on the Armistice Agreement that ceased fighting in the Korean War of 1950-53. He spoke of private happiness. Travis King remains the Command’s primary concern, but declined to provide further details, citing the confidential nature of the discussion.

North Korea has publicly kept quiet about King, who crossed the border last Tuesday when he was due to travel to Fort Bliss, Texas.

U.S. officials have expressed concern about his well-being and have previously said North Korea has ignored requests for information about him.

Travis King Korea.jpg
An undated file photo obtained by Reuters shows U.S. Army Private First Class Travis King.


Harrison said he was “remaining optimistic” but was unsure how talks with North Korea would proceed. Private tours to the Joint Security Area have been suspended since King crossed the border.

CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer said. The king’s defection “may be unwelcome news for the Kim Jong-un regime.”

Palmer points out that former North Korean diplomat Tae Yong-ho, who defected to South Korea several years ago, wrote on Facebook that “U.S. soldiers who cross over or defect in North Korea are inevitably a nuisance because they are less cost-effective in the long run in terms of propaganda and North Korean influence over Washington and Seoul.”

King’s visit to the US comes at a time of heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula, where the pace of North Korean arms demonstrations and joint US military exercises has intensified with repeated reprisals.

Harrison’s comments came hours after South Korea’s military announced that a US nuclear-powered submarine had arrived at a port on Jeju Island, the second deployment of a major US Navy asset to the Korean peninsula this month. The arrival of the USS Annapolis further strengthens the allies’ demonstration of force to counter the North Korean nuclear threat.

Last week, the Kentucky became the first US nuclear submarine to visit South Korea since the 1980s. North Korea responded to its arrival in Busan by testing ballistic and cruise missiles that indicated a possible nuclear attack on South Korea and deploying US naval vessels.

Between these launches, North Korea’s defense minister issued a veiled threat alleging that the Kentucky’s entry into South Korea could be grounds for North Korea to use its nuclear weapons. North Korea has used similar rhetoric before, but the statement highlights just how tense relations are now.

Analysts expect North Korea to wait weeks or even months for meaningful information about King to maximize and add urgency to U.S. efforts to secure King’s release. Some speculate North Korea is trying to extract concessions from the United States, such as tying his release to a reduction in U.S. military activity with South Korea.

The United States and South Korea are expanding joint military exercises and increasing the regional deployment of US strategic assets such as bombers, aircraft carriers and submarines in a show of force against North Korea, which has test-fired about 100 missiles since early 2022.

Primarily tasked with destroying enemy ships and submarines, Annapolis is powered by a nuclear reactor but is also armed with conventional weapons. The Annapolis, which is docked mainly on Jeju Island to load supplies, said South Korean Navy spokesman Jang Do-yeon said the US and South Korean forces were discussing whether to conduct exercises with the ship. UN to hold talks with North Korea over fate of defector Travis King

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