According to North Korea, US soldier Travis King strayed into its country last month due to “inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination” in the army.
On July 18, the 23-year-old soldier raced across the border from South Korea while on a guided tour.
According to state news agency KCNA, Private King acknowledged to unlawfully crossing the border and seeking sanctuary in the north.
Washington said it could not corroborate Pyongyang’s accusations, which are its first public remarks on the subject.
They were mentioned in a statement released solely by KCNA thus far.
Concerns have been growing for the welfare of the US soldier, who has not been heard from or seen since his crossing.
The US is trying to negotiate Private King’s release with the help of the UN Command, which runs the border area, and has a direct phoneline to the North Korean army.
Responding to the North Korean report on Wednesday, a Pentagon official said their priority was to have Private King brought home safely “through all available channels”.