US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement that “We are very early in this event, and so there’s a lot that we are still trying to learn but what we do know is that one of our service members who was on a tour wilfully and without authorisation crossed the military demarcation line,” and added that “We are closely monitoring and investigating the situation and working to notify the soldier’s next of kin and engaging to address this incident.” He has also informed the media and public that the US national who “willingly” crossed the border from South Korea to North Korea is an active US service member and crossed the border without taking any permissions.
President of the University of North Korean studies in South Korea, Yang Moo-jin, said that “It’s likely that North Korea will use the soldier for propaganda purposes in the short term and then as a bargaining chip in the mid-to-long term”. As per reports, the person is identified as King, 23, who was a cavalry scout with the 1st Armoured Division who had served nearly two months in a South Korean prison for assault. The report added that “He was released on July 10 and was being sent home on Monday to Fort Bliss, Texas, where he could have faced additional military discipline and discharge from the service. He was escorted as far as customs but left an airport in South Korea before having to board his plane to the US.” It is revealed that he ran across of the border to North Korea after joining the Panmunjom tour.
As far as the condition of King is concerned, there is no mention from any of the North Korea officials either from their state media or their offices located in other parts of the world regarding this incident which means that nothing can be done right now to know about the exact whereabouts of this US national. However, we do know that the US national has been detained by North Korean officials and that further action will be taken but the details of the said action are not known yet.