Travis King: Soldier who fled to North Korea ‘charged back in US’

US soldier Travis King, who fled from South to North Korea before being returned home last month, is reportedly facing charges including desertion, and soliciting and possessing sexual images of a child.

The charges also reportedly include assault against fellow soldiers.

The reconnaissance specialist illegally crossed into North Korea in July while on a guided tour of a border village.

Pyongyang eventually released him without giving further details.

The charges are yet to be officially announced but it appears he is facing eight charges, according to Reuters news agency, which first broke the story.

The 23-year-old could be jailed on the charge of desertion alone following his dash to North Korea in July.

Pvt King is also accused of broad misconduct before he fled to North Korea, including an attempted escape from US military custody in October 2022, Reuters news agency reports.

He was accused of soliciting a Snapchat user in July 2023 to “knowingly and willingly produce child pornography”. He was also accused of possession of child pornography.

His mother, Claudine Gates, asked that her son “be afforded the presumption of innocence”.

Pvt King was on duty with the US Army when he crossed the North Korean border.

He had been in the Army since January 2021 and was based in South Korea as part of a rotation.

Prior to sprinting into North Korea, Pvt King had served two months in detention in South Korea on charges that he assaulted two people and kicked a police car.

He was released from custody on 10 July – eight days before he crossed the country’s border with Pyongyang.

His release deal was brokered by Swedish officials, who brought Pvt King to North Korea’s border with China.

Little is known about how he was treated in North Korea, why he fled there in the first place and why Pyongyang decided to free him.

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