With the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (North Korea) releasing its first statement about the defection of Travis King, the western media has been full of its usual hyperbole about the affair, with titles such as “North Korea confirms it has detained Travis King”.
The truth though is that he has not actually been detained. Instead he crossed the DMZ at great risk to his own life in order to defect to the DPRK, something the country has since confirmed.
To read about him crossing the line click here
Background to Travis King
Private 2nd Class Travis King, who was facing disciplinary measures from the US military was being repatriated to the United States via flight from Seoul. Instead he left the airport, took a tour to the DMZ and then crossed the border. This occurred during the middle of July, with the statement being the first since the event.
Said statement which was released via the state run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and was attributed to King was as follows “During the investigation, Travis King confessed that he had decided to come over to the DPRK as he harbored ill feeling against inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination within the U.S. Army. He also expressed his willingness to seek refugee in the DPRK or a third country, saying that he was disillusioned at the unequal American society.”
The accusations about the racism suffered by King have since been confined by his family and while this does not make it “true”, it does at least give wider context and credence to them.
Of course western media have treated what was said wuth skepticism with one outlet going as far as to call it “100 percent North Korean propaganda”
And this was not the only accusation with North Korea also being accused of “illegally detaining” King, while some quarters have even stated that he should be declared a “prisoner of war” among otter bizarre statements.
In fairness to the US military it has remained largely silent about affair, seemingly wanting neither anything to do with King, give credence to his claims, or who are still acknowledge what is happening.
What is actually happening to Travis King?
While those in the US present King as a prisoner the facts at hand state very much otherwise. We know that he not only left an airport to return to South Korea, but had thoughts things through enough to book a tour to the DMX and cross at the most opportune moment. This was not an act of madness this was premeditated.
For North Korea it is likely that their thoughts on the crossing of King were akin to a rock and a hards place. King has no intrinsic value to the regime, but as he has claimed asylum from the USA simply sending him home would be seen as a sign of weakness.
Currently it is most likely he is being “held” at one of the best hotels in Pyongyang, such as the Koryo Hotel, which has famously hosted a number of other detainees, and is being fed and treated very well. And this is far from abnormal when in the west where refugees can not only be detained before processing, but even held in 3rd countries.
To read about James Dresnok click here
What will happen to Travis King?
And this is where not only the most interesting facet, but also most ignored comes in, North Korea have stated that Travis King wants to either seek asylum in the DPRK, OR a third country. This is not only something we would not usually expect the country to say, but more importantly one that leaves their options fully open.
Should King be repatriated to a third country, such as Russia (remember Snowden) then pretty much everyone wins, King gets freedom and a platform to complain about his treatment in America, said third country gets to be the protector of the oppressed, while North Korea gets to come out smelling of roses, without actually having to house and feed a fairly politically useless defector.
In the meantime though expect the western media to follow its usual anti=DPRK rhetoric, regardless of what the actual facts are.