The United States Army and the White House have expressed significant concern about the welfare of the US soldier who defected to North Korea earlier this week. Despite US inquiries, the totalitarian state has not responded to the queries regarding the AWOL soldier’s situation. The situation remains highly sensitive and raises serious apprehensions for the soldier’s safety and the implications of their defection to North Korea.
US Private Travis King had completed his deployment in South Korea as well as a prison sentence in South Korea for assault and should have returned to the United States, but escaped from the airport to join a private tour of the border, where he broke away from the group and crossed the demilitarized zone into North Korea, according to Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh.
King has been declared “Absent Without Leave” or AWOL, which is punishable by confinement in the brig, forfeiture of pay or dishonorable discharge — all largely based on how long a soldier is away and the nature of their return. This is a considerably less serious charge than being declared a deserter.