American soldier Travis King returned to the US on Thursday and was said to be in “good spirits”, as he begins a reintegration programme after his release from North Korea, the Pentagon said.
Pvt King arrived at a military base in Texas after North Korea expelled him following his surprise dash across the demilitarised zone, or DMZ, while on a civilian tour of the border between the two Koreas.
“I was told he was in good spirits when he was getting on a flight to return home,” Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said.
Pvt King, 23, ran into North Korea from the South on July 18 and was immediately taken into North Korean custody.
It was unclear if he will face disciplinary action by the US Army, which has treated his case with care.
The Army has so far not called him a deserter, even though he crossed the border without authorisation while on active duty.
“He'll be going through medical screenings, medical evaluations, and then he'll be meeting with professionals to assess his emotional and mental health well-being, and he'll be meeting with counsellors,” Ms Singh said.
In October 2022, Pvt King was arrested in Seoul after becoming involved in a physical altercation with locals.
When police arrived, he allegedly caused damage to their vehicle, and made aggressive and disparaging remarks against Koreans and law enforcement, The New York Times reported.
After failing to pay a fine for the assault charges, he was detained by South Korean authorities for a month and a half before being turned over to US military police.
He was facing a possible dishonourable discharge.