North Korea speaks for the first time about this American soldier 2:42

(CNN) -- North Korea has decided to "expel" U.S. Army soldier Travis King, who had crossed into the North from South Korea during a visit to the joint security zone in July, state media KCNA reported on Wednesday.

"The competent organ of the DPRK decided to expel Travis King, a soldier of the US Army who was illegally introduced into the territory of the DPRK, under the law of the Republic," KCNA said.

The report said the investigation into King "concluded."

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Travis King's troubles in the military before crossing into North Korea 2:07

North Korea claimed King has "confessed to illegally intruding on DPRK territory because he harbored ill feelings against inhumane mistreatment and racial discrimination within the U.S. military and was disillusioned by unequal American society."

CNN cannot verify whether these are King's own words.


It is not clear from the KCNA report where, when and how King would be expelled.

Travis King's Deliberate Move to North Korea

King, believed to be the first U.S. soldier to cross into North Korea since 1982, is in the hands of a notoriously autocratic and opaque one-party regime that views the United States as a mortal enemy.

U.S. officials say U.S. Private Travis King "deliberately and without authorization" crossed into North Korea on July 18 while on a civilian tour of the Joint Security Area (JSA), a small collection of buildings within the 240-kilometer-long demilitarized zone (DMZ) that has separated North and South Korea since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

There is no physical barrier inside the JSA, and a U.S. official said that after crossing the demarcation line delimiting the border, King tried to enter a North Korean facility, but the gate was locked. He then ran to the back of the building, at which point North Korean guards rushed him into a van and took him away.

King is a reconnaissance specialist in the U.S. Army, which he joined in January 2021. At the time of his rotation in South Korea, he was assigned to the 6th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division from Fort Bliss, Texas, according to Army spokesman Bryce Dubee.

Just over a week before crossing the border, King was released from a detention center in South Korea, where he had completed 50 days of work, defense officials told CNN.

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The day before crossing into North Korea, King was supposed to board a flight to Texas, where he would face disciplinary proceedings. But after army escorts released him at a security checkpoint at Incheon International Airport near Seoul, King left the airport on his own.

The next day, he joined a tour of the JSA that he had previously booked with a private company.

The soldier's mother, Claudine Gates, asked Pyongyang on Aug. 16 to treat him humanely and grant him a phone call to speak with her, according to Jonathan Franks, a family spokesman.

The military intelligence value King could provide to North Korea is uncertain. As a private, you probably wouldn't have access to high-level information, but just because you're at a U.S. military installation, you can talk about things like base layouts or what units and troop numbers are there.

North Korea