Private Travis King, of expelled North Koreais “in custody” of the United States, a US official announced on Wednesday. North Korea is said to have deported US soldier Travis King, who was detained for 71 days after entering the country through the South’s border on July 18.

“I can immediately confirm that Private Travis King is in U.S. custody,” the official, who asked to remain anonymous, told reporters.

Earlier, the North Korean state agency KCNA stated that Pyongyang prepared to expel the American soldier who illegally entered its territory in July South Korea.

King, 23, crossed the border into the North after spending 48 days in a South Korean correctional facility after failing to pay a fine imposed in February for an incident with police in Seoul. According to his statement, Pyongyang had requested asylum in the country at the time.

King crossed the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) and entered North Korean territory, taking advantage of his participation in a tourist visit to the Joint Security Area (JSA), in the heart of the border between the two Koreas.

South Korea showed off its military might while its northern neighbor announced at the UN that the Korean Peninsula is “on the brink of nuclear war.”

Pyongyang has stated that again King crossed the border to prevent “racial discrimination in the US military.” and because he was “disillusioned with the inequality in American society,” the official added.

The soldier was expected to return to the United States to face disciplinary action after being involved in a bar fight, having an altercation with police and spending time in a prison in South Korea. Instead, he snuck out of the airport, joined the sightseeing tour and ran across the border between the two Koreas. (JO)