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American Serviceman Deliberately Crossed DMZ Into North Korea, US Says

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An American serviceman deliberately crossed the border into North Korea, where he is being held by the communist government, according to a U.S. military official.

“A U.S. service member on a [Joint Security Area] orientation tour willfully and without authorization crossed the Military Demarcation Line into the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),” said Col. Isaac Taylor, a spokesman for U.S. Forces Korea. “We believe he is currently in DPRK custody and are working with our KPA counterparts to resolve this incident.”

Soldier of Fortune has asked the U.S. Army for service records and any releasable information on the soldier. Although the soldier’s name has been widely circulated, the Army has not yet officially confirmed his identity pending certain matters, an official told SoF.

The incident came to light on Tuesday morning, when the United Nations Command wrote on Twitter that an American citizen crossed into North Korea while touring a section of the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea.

“A U.S. National on a JSA orientation tour crossed, without authorization, the Military Demarcation Line into the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),” the UNC wrote. “We believe he is currently in DPRK custody and are working with our KPA counterparts to resolve this incident.”

The orientation tour to the Joint Security Area, which is located inside the Demilitarized Zone between South and North Korea, is open to the general public.

The UNC did not identify the man, and gave no further details.

The last known person to have crossed the border was shot and killed on the spot in 2020, according to reports at the time from South Korea.

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