Washington, DC – Today, Foreign Policy for America welcomes news that Travis King has been released by North Korea and safely returned to the care of the United States. We look forward to his safe arrival home and reunion with his family.
Reports indicate that today’s outcome was made possible by weeks of backchannel negotiations and diplomatic cooperation. We are heartened by the role that Sweden, the protecting power for the United States in North Korea, played to facilitate negotiations and secure Mr. King’s ultimate release. We are also encouraged to hear of China’s cooperation in facilitating his transition through China into the care of U.S. officials. We commend the extraordinary operational coordination by American diplomats with stakeholders to ensure success and celebrate the Biden Administration’s principled and values-driven commitment to bringing Americans home, no matter the circumstances.
The safe return of Mr. King is another important reminder of the power of diplomacy in peacefully resolving sensitive issues and opening doors for de-escalation with our adversaries.
There continues to be a need for more dialogue between the United States and North Korea to address security issues in the region. There are no military solutions to the challenges on the Korean Peninsula. Measured and resolved diplomacy and dialogue are key to reducing tensions and addressing outstanding concerns over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, its destabilizing security assistance to Russia, and the humanitarian conditions in the country.