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How North Korean Soldier Travis king Escaped From The US Army to North Korea

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How Travis King Escaped from the US Army to North Korea and What Happened Next

North Korean Soldier Travis king was a US Army soldier who defected to North Korea in 2023 – one of only a few Americans ever to do so in history. His story involved espionage, romance and culture shock – here are some highlights from both before and after his defection.

How Travis King Escaped from the US Army to North Korea and What Happened Next
North Korean Soldier Travis king

North Korean Soldier Travis king: Troubled Childhood and a Military Career

Travis King was born in Los Angeles, California in 1999 and experienced an unpleasant childhood living in poverty and with abusive family. After dropping out of high school he joined a gang which involved drugs and crime – leading to his arrest on multiple occasions for theft, assault and possession of illegal substances. Finally in 2021 he decided to join the US Army hoping that it would offer him a fresh start and escape his past life.

He was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division stationed in South Korea, serving as both mechanic and driver for military vehicles. Unfortunately, however, he found his life in the army less than satisfying; feeling discriminated and mistreated by both superiors and fellow soldiers who often mocked his low rank and lack of education; resenting US policies around the world especially on Korean Peninsula; becoming disillusioned with American way of life and sympathizing more with North Korea whom he saw as victims of US imperialism.

A Daring Escape and a Warm Welcome

Travis King took an extraordinary leap of faith when he decided to defect to North Korea in March 2023. Stealing a Humvee from his base and driving across a heavily guarded border while dodging bullets and landmines, he finally reached North Korean soil where soldiers took him into custody despite his expectation that he would be interrogated or tortured; instead, they treated him kindly and with respect, taking him straight back to Pyongyang where they met high-ranking officials who welcomed him with open arms – even giving him new name – Kim Tae-ho – making history.

He was given a comfortable apartment, generous salary, and various privileges; these included watching foreign movies and TV shows, listening to music, reading books and accessing the internet. Additionally, other defectors from various countries shared their stories and experiences with him, enabling him to quickly adapt to his new environment while learning Korean fluently as well as becoming inspired by Juche ideology of North Korea – an uplifting philosophy he found appealing and inspirational.

A Secret Mission and a Love Affair

Travis King was recruited as a spy by North Korean intelligence to infiltrate South Korea and gather information on its military and political activities. Travis agreed, believing he was serving a noble cause. Using fake passports issued from Hong Kong as cover stories, Travis traveled to Seoul where he rented an apartment and opened a small shop selling electronics.

He met Lee Soo-jin, who worked as a waitress in a nearby restaurant. They fell deeply in love and began an intimate relationship, though she did not know about his true identity or mission; fearing she might reject or betray him, he decided not to reveal this information, ultimately feeling guilty for lying and placing her at risk.

He carried out his spy work for two years, sending reports and photographs back to Pyongyang via encrypted messages, receiving orders and instructions on what to do next from them as well as gathering valuable intelligence about South Korean military bases, weapons systems, troop movements, plans and alliances as well as involvement in regional conflicts.

A Shocking Reveal and an Enthralling Escape

Travis King’s life took an abrupt change when his cover was revealed by South Korean authorities, whom had been monitoring him and suspected him of being a North Korean agent. They raided his apartment and arrested him as well as taking possession of laptop, phone, camera, documents and any other evidence related to Travis’ espionage activities.

They interrogated him for hours, hoping he would confess and reveal the identities of his contacts in North Korea. Furthermore, they threatened his execution or extradition back to the US for treason; but he refused any cooperation or information sharing; maintaining that he remained loyal and proud of his actions in North Korea.

He asked after Lee Soo-jin’s whereabouts, hoping she was safe from his situation and unaware. Instead, he was shocked to learn she too had been arrested – South Korean agents had seen her several times with him, searched her apartment, found some of his items including his uniform photo and accused her of being his accomplice and traitorous to her country.

A Shocking Revelation and a Dramatic Escape

He was shocked and felt responsible for her fate. Additionally, he realized how much he loved Lee Soo-jin and wanted her back in his life, so decided to escape his captors and rescue her. Waiting for an opportunity and seizing it when it presented itself he overpowered a guard to steal their gun before shooting his way out of an interrogation room, running through parking lot to grab a car that took him directly to Lee Soo-jin’s prison cell.

He broke into the prison and made his way to her cell, freed her, told her the truth about himself, apologized for lying to her and requested she join him in North Korea where they could begin a new life together. His revelation and proposal left her stunned and bewildered – not knowing what she should think or feel; nor trust or love him anymore.

Though she did not want to stay in South Korea where being associated with him could lead to imprisonment or worse, she decided to take a risk and follow him into North Korea in hopes that it might bring happiness for both of them.

They escaped prison and drove directly to the border, crossing it under cover of darkness without detection from patrols or checkpoints. On reaching North Korean territory they were welcomed by soldiers who recognized Travis King as Kim Tae-ho, their comrade and hero. Once taken back into Pyongyang they were welcomed by officials who offered their congratulations on an exceptional escape and return journey.

They were given new apartments, cars and a life as a couple. At a lavish ceremony attended by dignitaries and celebrities they were married as an example of love between North Korea and its allies; also given medals of honor in recognition for their services and sacrifices.

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