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What do we know about the US soldier who was detained after crossing the border?

What do we know about the US soldier who was detained after crossing the border?

Image Alliance / DPA/Image Alliance via Getty I 15 April 2023, South Korea, Joint Security Area: US soldiers stand in the Joint Security Area (JSA), the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. In the background, you can see the Banmun Pavilion on North Korean territory. After the three-year Korean War, a four-kilometer Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) was established by an armistice agreement in July 1953, marking a 248-kilometer border between the two countries. The Armistice Agreement was signed by one of the Blue Forces (L) at the headquarters in the JSA. Image: Soren Stach/dpa (Photo by Soren Stach/Image Alliance via Getty Images)

Image Alliance / DPA/Image Alliance via Getty I

US military personnel stand in the ‘Common Security Area’ of the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea on April 15, 2023.

NORTH KOREA – This is an extremely rare event, the outcome of which is still uncertain today, and risks re-igniting tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.

Twenty-four hours later a US soldier crossed the border into North Korea and visited the demilitarized zone separated from South Korea. Lay HuffPost Provides an update on the case and its potential diplomatic ramifications.

• What happened on the Korean border on Tuesday?

Travis King, identified by the US Army, is an enlisted private from 2021 “arbitrarily and without consent” The border between South Korea and North Korea, technically still in a state of war, during a visit to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates North and South.

“This man ran between buildings saying a loud ‘ha ha'” A witness to the scene told CBS News after the group’s visit that he was part of one of the site’s buildings. “ At first I thought it was a bad joke, but when he didn’t come back I realized it wasn’t a joke, and then everyone reacted, it was crazy.”he added.

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A US official told AFP on condition of anonymity that the soldier was believed to be being held in North Korea, the UN command confirmed. “We believe he is currently being held in the DPRK (North Korea) and are working with our colleagues in the North Korean People’s Army to resolve this incident.”Underlining the mandate of the United Nations.

“We are closely monitoring and investigating the situation.”US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters.

• Who is this American soldier?

Travis King spent two months in a South Korean prison. Soldier “He was released on July 10 after nearly two months in a South Korean prison on assault charges.”A South Korean official told AFP.

He was due to be flown back to the United States for disciplinary reasons, but managed to leave the airport and join a group of visitors arriving at the DMZ, according to CBS television reports citing US officials.

• What is DMZ?

Every day hundreds of tourists go in, within the framework of organized tours “Public Safety Area” (JSA), lies within the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that has separated the two Koreas for nearly 70 years.

248 km long and about 4 km wide, it has intersected the peninsula since 1953 and the end of the Korean War, roughly following the 38th parallel, which formed the pre-conflict Korean demarcation line. Of its 1000 km², it is completely uninhabited.

15 April 2023, South Korea, Joint Security Area: US soldiers stand in the Joint Security Area (JSA), the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.  After the three-year Korean War, a four-kilometer Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) was established by an armistice agreement in July 1953, marking a 248-kilometer border between the two countries.  A cease-fire agreement was signed at one of the Blue Legions at headquarters in the JSA.  Image: Soren Stach/dpa (Photo by Soren Stach/Image Alliance via Getty Images)
Image Alliance / DPA/Image Alliance via Getty I 15 April 2023, South Korea, Joint Security Area: US soldiers stand in the Joint Security Area (JSA), the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. After the three-year Korean War, a four-kilometer Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) was established by an armistice agreement in July 1953, marking a 248-kilometer border between the two countries. A cease-fire agreement was signed at one of the Blue Legions at headquarters in the JSA. Image: Soren Stach/dpa (Photo by Soren Stach/Image Alliance via Getty Images)

Image Alliance / DPA/Image Alliance via Getty I

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US military personnel stand in the ‘Common Security Area’ of the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea on April 15, 2023.

The Korean War (1950-1953) ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty, and the two neighbors are still, technically, at war.

“Banmunjom (where TMZ is located, editor’s note) is the site most likely chosen by these Americans to cross North Korea because it is the only place they can escape when visiting the Joint Security Area”Choi Ki-il, a professor of military studies at Sangji University, told AFP.

North Korea closed its borders at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and has yet to reopen them. Its security presence along its border has been significantly reduced.

When visited by AFP “Public Safety Area” Earlier this year, no North Korean guards were seen there.

But even in this framework, under armistice protocols, no South Korean or U.S. personnel could cross the border to pick up a U.S. citizen.

In 1976, two American soldiers were killed “Public Safety Area” The North Koreans were armed with axes during an argument over a tree.

• What are the diplomatic consequences?

The incident risks further worsening relations between Washington and Pyongyang.

Hours after the incident, North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the Sea of ​​Japan, the South Korean military said.

Steve Tharp, a retired US Army Lt. Col. who served in Korea, admitted to a Seoul-based special website. NK News He had no idea how the North Koreans would react to this incident: “There is too little data” He pointed out such incidents. “This is the first contact after Covid (…). We don’t know what they’re thinking.”He said NK News.

The case comes at a time when diplomatic relations between the two Koreas are at a standstill.

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Kim Jong Un called for the North to develop weapons, including tactical nuclear weapons.

South Korea and the United States have increased their military cooperation in response to North Korea’s missile tests, particularly with joint maneuvers involving latest-generation fighter jets and strategic forces.

The two countries held the first meeting of the Nuclear Advisory Council in Seoul on Tuesday and announced the arrival of a US nuclear submarine in Busan, South Korea’s southern tip, for the first time since 1981.

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