After the surprise action of Travis King, now there are mainly concerns. Because what awaits the American soldier after running into North Korea this week? “North Korea may use him as a pawn in negotiations with the US.”
Along with a group of tourists, Travis King visited Panmunjom, a village on the border between North and South Korea, last Tuesday. Suddenly, the 23-year-old soldier fled to North Korea. Nothing was heard from him after that.
The soldier was in the army since 2021. On July 10, King was released after nearly two months in a South Korean prison. King, according to the news agency AP Hit a man and damaged a police car.
The US has been trying to contact Pyongyang since his disappearance, but the North Koreans have so far not responded. No wonder, because relations between the two countries have been severely strained. For example, the United States is highly critical of North Korea because it is working on developing nuclear weapons and is constantly conducting missile launches.
He is not the first American to be arrested in North Korea
“The North Koreans are not interested in dialogue with us at this time,” Thomas Hubbard told the news agency. Reuters. The retired US ambassador went to Pyongyang in 1994 to bring back another American.
Then it came to Bobby Hall, a helicopter pilot in training. According to a reconstruction The New York Times Hall and his co-pilot unwittingly flew into North Korea. The helicopter was shot down, killing Halls’ co-pilot. Hall was arrested but released after negotiations.
“It was a very strange time,” Hubbard says. “The North Koreans saw that they had an interest in a relationship with the United States.” Now the cards are different, and that could be bad news for Travis King.
Travis King can be used for propaganda
Because in order to negotiate, North Korea must be contacted first. But there are no direct lines with Pyongyang. According to Reuters Efforts were made to establish contact with the United Nations and the UN representative, but as far as is known, this did not bear fruit.
North Korea could also use Travis King as a bargaining chip in negotiations due to rising tensions with the US. “He can be used to pressure Washington and make concessions,” North Korea researcher Yang Moo-jin told the news agency. AP. “For example, North Korea could demand that the United States withdraw its military operations with South Korea in exchange for a release.”
Another option is that the soldier is used as a campaign. It happened once before in 1965 when an American soldier escaped Charles Jenkins to North Korea to avoid military service in Vietnam. Through pamphlets and films, the North Koreans used him as a propaganda tool to convince their own people that life there was better than in the West.
‘US must respect Pyongyang’
Experts believe that Travis King is a good fit for the campaign because he is believed to have entered North Korea because of his legal problems and other issues with the US military. Most experts agree that King will be prosecuted for at least a long time, then possible deportation or impeachment.
Whatever happens now, says Mickey Bergman, “America must avoid beating itself up.” He is the director of The Richardson Center, founded by a former diplomat who negotiated the release of prisoners with North Korea.
“The United States must communicate calmly and respect Pyongyang’s right to detain and interrogate any soldier who enters its territory. Ninety percent of what happens to Travis King depends on how we act now.”
“Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator.”