US soldier was laughing when sprinting across border into North Korea

The US soldier who attempted to defect to North Korea was allegedly "laughing" as he sprinted across the border.

Private 2nd Class Travis King, 23, managed to flee from custody in South Korea where he was being held and in the process of expulsion from the military.

He joined a tour group to the Korean border village of tourist hotspot Panmunjom and headed deep inside the demilitarised zone.

READ MORE: US national detained crossing into North Korea identified as American soldier

There, the United States private was believed to have let out a loud "ha ha ha" before sprinting between buildings and making his way to and across the North Korean border.

US Indo-Pacific Command head Adm John Aquilino confirmed the incident which saw the private make "a run across the demilitarised zone in the Joint Security Area."

The command head confirmed King had been "picked up by the North Koreans" after the private was found to have entered the country "intentionally and without authorisation", as Lloyd Austin described.

US defence secretary Austin added: "There’s a lot that that we’re still trying to learn, but what we do know is that one of our service members who was on a tour wilfully and without authorisation crossed the military demarcation line."

Mr Austin also said King was likely now in North Korean custody, The Guardian reported.

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Democrat representative Adam Smith added: "If a US soldier is held in North Korea, our priority must be securing his return."

The Daily Star previously reported on the identity of the American soldier who was detained for crossing the border, with North Korean and American officials said to be in talks over his release.

North Korea has built a reputation for being thoroughly against negotiations with the international community, but it is believed talks are ongoing.

The defected individual was not wearing his military uniform at the time and had instead been in civilian clothing.

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