U.S. focused on bringing Pvt. King home safely: Pentagon

The United States remains focused on ensuring the safe return of a U.S. service member who crossed the inter-Korean border into North Korea last month, a U.S. Department of Defense spokesperson said Tuesday.

The remark comes shortly after North Korea claimed Pvt. Travis King has expressed a willingness to seek asylum in the North or a third country.

"We cannot verify these alleged comments," the Pentagon spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency when asked about the North'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 U.S. said earlier that it has reached out to North Korea through various communication channels but that Pyongyang has offered no response.

The defense department spokesperson did not provide any comment when asked if the North has responded to the U.S.

Source: Yonhap News Agency