An American soldier who crossed the heavily armed border into North Korea from South Korea in July arrived back in the United States on Thursday after being expelled by Pyongyang, CNN reported.

A U.S. military flight carrying Travis King, a private second class in the Army, landed at a base in Texas in the early hours of Thursday, the report said, quoting a Defense Department official.

The United States secured the return of King on Wednesday. North Korea announced the same day it had expelled the soldier after he admitted to "illegally" entering its territory.

A TV screen shows a photo of American soldier Travis King during a news program at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul on Sept. 28, 2023. (AP/Kyodo)

He was transferred to Osan Air Base in South Korea through China with the help of Sweden, which has long served as the protecting power for the United States in North Korea. Washington and Pyongyang do not have diplomatic relations.

U.S. President Joe Biden's top national security aide Jake Sullivan issued a statement thanking China for its assistance in facilitating the transit of King and Sweden for its diplomatic role.

On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said at a press conference in Beijing that China provided "necessary assistance in a humanitarian spirit" to meet requests by North Korea and the United States.

King had been convicted of assault in South Korea and was due to face disciplinary action by the U.S. military. On July 18, he dashed across the border into North Korea without authorization after joining a civilian tour to the Joint Security Area in the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas.

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