US soldier Travis King back in American custody after crossing into North Korea

US soldier Travis King.
US Soldier Travis King bolted into the North in July Credit: Facebook

US soldier Travis King is back in American custody after he crossed into North Korea, US officials confirm.

The country's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), said authorities have closed their investigation into Private Travis King who passed through the military demarcation line over the inter-Korean border in July.

It said he confessed to illegally entering the North because he harbored “ill feeling against inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination” within the US Army.

Travis King, dressed in a black shirt and hat, is seen on the tour before he crossed into North Korea. Credit: AP

ITV News cannot verify whether these are Mr King’s own words.

King was transferred to American custody in China, according to a US official.

The soldier bolted into the North in July while on a tour of the southern side of an inter-Korean truce village.

Mr King was supposed to be on his way to Fort Bliss, Texas, after finishing a prison sentence.

According to a US official, Mr King - who chose to serve his time at a labour camp rather than pay the nearly $4,000 (£3,145) fine - was declared absent without leave (AWOL).

Sabrina Singh, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told reporters in July that the soldier was not escorted all the way to the gate because he was not in custody and there was no anticipation that he would not get on the plane to go home.

Military personnel escorted him to the passport control area and were not allowed to go farther than that.

Singh said he confirmed to the US military that he was near the gate.

Mr King knew he was returning to Texas to face likely discharge.

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