The worried mother of an American soldier now being held in North Korea after entering the country illegally has spoken out.
On Tuesday, Claudine Gates, Travis King’s distraught mom, expressed worry for her son’s well-being, saying she “just wanted her son back.”
After being stationed in South Korea and receiving a fine for assault, King was imprisoned for more than a month before he was to be taken by the U.S. military to Incheon International Airport for a commercial aircraft to Dallas, Texas. After the screening, he returned to the airport to report his passport misplaced to the airline.
Christine Wormuth, the secretary of the United States Army, claimed that King “may not have been thinking clearly, frankly.” He had attacked someone in South Korea, been detained by the South Korean authorities, and was returning to the United States to face the repercussions of his actions.
In her first public remarks, Wormuth stated that Washington had gone all out to reach Pyongyang via various means, including the United Nations. However, authorities claimed that North Korea had not yet responded.
On Tuesday, while on a civilian tour of the Panmunjom peace hamlet, he ran across the Military Demarcation Line that divided the two Koreas since the armistice ended the Korean War in 1953.
North Korea has said nothing publicly about King, and according to U.S. officials, Pyongyang has ignored communications from the U.S. military regarding the soldier. State-run media in North Korea, which has previously covered the arrests of Americans, has remained silent on this latest event. U.S. special envoy for North Korea, Sung Kim, stated in Japan that the United States is actively engaged in ensuring King’s safety and return and working very hard to ascertain his condition and well-being.
The latest North Korean ballistic missile test coincided with the arrival of a U.S. nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine in South Korea for the first time since the 1980s, heightening tensions on the Korean peninsula. North Korea claims it successfully test-fired an ICBM last week with the longest flight time ever achieved by a solid-fuel ICBM.
Kim Yo Jong, the influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and a senior governing party member, called on the United States to end its “foolish act” of provocation toward her country on Monday, claiming that it was endangering North Korea’s safety.