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US focused on safe return of soldier who entered N.Korea: Pentagon

The US remains focused on ensuring the safe return of a service member who crossed the inter-Korean border into North Korea last month, a Defence Department spokesperson has said.

The remark on Tuesday comes shortly after North Korea claimed Pvt. Travis King has expressed a willingness to seek asylum in North Korea or a third country, Yonhap news agency reported.

“We cannot verify these alleged comments,” the Pentagon spokesperson told Yonhap when asked about North Korea’s claim, carried by the country’s state-run Korean Central News Agency.

“The department’s priority is to bring Pvt. King home, and we are working through all available channels to achieve that outcome,” the official added.

King crossed the Military Demarcation Line into the North while on a group tour to the Joint Security Area in the Demilitarized Zone on July 18.

The US said earlier that it has reached out to North Korea through various communication channels but that Pyongyang has offered no response.

The Defence Department spokesperson did not provide any comment when asked if North Korea has responded to the US.

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