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The US rejects to recognize Travis King as a prisoner of war 1950–1953 Korean War great sad state of affair

WASHINGTON- Despite being detained by North Korea after entering the nation last month, Army Private Travis King has not yet been designated as a prisoner of war by the United States, four U.S. officials told Reuters.

Given that the United States military is dedicated to not leaving any soldier behind enemy lines, the judgment, which could imply that Travis King is not entitled to the protections granted to prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention, is extremely delicate.

The military has been unsure on how to categorize the 23-year-old Travis King who sprinted across the tightly guarded border while taking a civilian tour of the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea.

Given that the United States and North Korea are still formally at war, he could seem to qualify as a POW as he is a serving member of the military. An armistice rather than a peace treaty marked the conclusion of the 1950–1953 Korean War.

However, according to the authorities who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Travis King’s free-will decision to enter North Korea while wearing civilian clothing appears to have disqualified him from that position.

A representative for the Pentagon declined to comment on Travis King’s POW status but stated that bringing King home was the defense department’s top priority and that efforts were being made to accomplish this through all possible avenues.

The statement stated, “Private King must be treated humanely in accordance with international law.”

The U.S. officials claimed that Washington sent Pyongyang such message in private contacts, but they added that POW status was not mentioned in those communications for Travis King .

Travis King might still be referred to as a POW by the US. Under the condition of anonymity, a U.S. official told Reuters that no final decision had been made and that the country’s position on Travis King’s status can change when more information about his case comes to light.

A request for comment was forwarded to the Pentagon by the State Department. A request for comment from the White House did not receive a prompt response.

CAPITIVES’ PROTECTIONS
The Third Geneva Convention, to which North Korea and the United States are signatories, provides protection for prisoners of war. This agreement specifies guidelines for the treatment of inmates, including guarantees of everything from adequate medical attention and access to the Red Cross to prisoners’ capacity to communicate with their family.

Travis King might benefit from being designated as a POW, according to Rachel VanLandingham, a military law expert at Southwestern Law School, even though it would be viewed legally as a stretch.

“It provides a much clearer, very structured framework for exactly how they’re to treat him down to the number of cigarettes per day they’re required to give him if he asks,” she added.

It is unclear whether King’s treatment by the impoverished North Korean regime would alter if he were designated a POW. Pyongyang has repeatedly demonstrated that it is unwilling to be bound by international law as it continues to develop nuclear weapons in defiance of UN resolutions.

It would be challenging for the United States to claim that King is a prisoner of war in any scenario, according to Geoffrey Corn, a military law expert at Texas Tech University School of Law, in part because there was no ongoing hostilities on the peninsula at the time.

He wasn’t really taken prisoner during combat. If that were to occur, Corn added, “we’d definitely label him as an unauthorized immigrant who entered the border without a visa.

King, a member of the Korean Rotational Force who enlisted in the U.S. Army in January 2021, had previously worked as a Cavalry Scout as a part of the long-standing U.S. security commitment to South Korea.
But legal issues hampered his posting.

According to court records, he was accused of assaulting two people in South Korea and ultimately pleaded guilty to one charge of assault and destroying public property for damaging a police car during an expletive-filled rant against Koreans.

King had been scheduled to undergo military disciplinary punishment upon his return to Fort Bliss, Texas, after serving time in custody in South Korea.

The POW designation has been applied in situations where the United States was not engaged in a war at the time.

Christopher Stone, Andrew Ramirez, and Steven Gonzales, who were seized on March 31, 1999, while participating in a NATO peacekeeping mission, were given prisoner of war medals by the United States. Yugoslavia detained them for more than a month. And Navy Lieutenant Robert Goodman, who was abducted in Lebanon in 1983 and held captive in Syria for a month after his aircraft was shot down, was also given the medal.

King’s official status is currently listed by the Pentagon as “AWOL,” or absent without leave. Military laws said that after 30 days of being AWOL, he would be immediately classified as a deserter.

Given that King was likely aware that his decision had destroyed his military career, Corn claimed he may be labeled a deserter sooner.

He can’t actually cross that border without being aware of it and possibly intending to stay away indefinitely, Corn added.

Josh Smith, Idrees Ali, and Phil Stewart reported; Simon Lewis contributed additional reporting, while Don Durfee and Daniel Wallis edited the piece.

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