US soldier detained by North Korea forces

Kabiru Isah

A soldier serving in the US Army has been reportedly detained by North Korea for crossing the heavily-fortified border from South Korea without permission.

The man was on a tour of the UN-run zone dividing North Korea and the South Korea.

It is unclear where or in what conditions Pte King is being held.

The United Nations Command, which operates the Demilitarised Zone and joint security area (JSA), said earlier its team had made contact with the North Korean military to try to negotiate his release.

“We believe he is currently in DPRK custody and are working with our KPA counterparts to resolve this incident,” it said.

Greg Scarlatoiu, the executive director of the Washington DC-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, told the BBC that North Korean authorities are likely to “try pump information out of him” about his military service and “try to coerce him into becoming a propaganda tool”.

Hours after the soldier’s detention, North Korea launched two suspected ballistic missiles into the nearby sea.

The missile launch, which has been confirmed by South Korea’s military, comes as tensions run high on the Korean peninsula. There has been no suggestion that the launch is tied to the soldier’s detention

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