UN Command Initiates Dialogues with North Korea Regarding US Soldier Travis King

According to a Reuters report on Monday, the United Nations Command’s deputy commander revealed that discussions between the command and North Korea have begun concerning Travis King’s case.

On July 18, U.S. Army private Travis King entered North Korea after making a sudden dash across the DMZ’s border, which separates North and South Korea. The armistice between the two nations has halted hostilities.

The U.N. Command, responsible for overseeing the Korean War truce and led by the United States, had guards stationed at the border when Pvt. King and a group toured the area last week. Unarmed, the guards were caught off guard by King’s actions.

Initially scheduled to fly from South Korea to Fort Hood, Texas, to face disciplinary action upon arrival, King instead joined a tour group heading for the DMZ, sparking speculations that he intended to defect.

The discussions between the UNC and North Korea’s military were initiated and conducted through a mechanism established under the Korean War armistice, explained Lieutenant General Andrew Harrison, a British Army officer serving as the deputy commander of the multinational force.

“The primary concern for us is Private King’s welfare,” Harrison explained during a media briefing. The deputy commander declined to provide further detail about UNC’s contact with N. Korea.

“The conversation has commenced with the KPA through the mechanisms of the Armistice agreement,” Harrison said, referring to the North’s Korean People’s Army. “I can’t say anything that could prejudice that process.”

In a departure from their usual approach to communicating about detained U.S. nationals, North Korea’s state media has chosen to remain silent about Travis King.

The soldier’s sudden entry into the reclusive Communist-run country occurred during a sensitive period, with tensions escalating between North Korea and South Korea following the arrival of a U.S. nuclear ballistic missile submarine at a South Korean naval base last week.

North Korea reacted to what its leaders deemed as “provocation” by conducting a ballistic missile test shortly after the USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) docked at South Korea’s Busan naval base.