NORTH Korea has expelled American soldier Travis King after he bolted into the hermit kingdom in an apparent bid to defect to Kim Jong-un's regime.

King, 23, was detained by North Korean forces after venturing into the nuclear-armed country during a guided tour of the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) on July 18.

The Private 2nd Class solider was with a group of tourists visiting the Joint Security Area on the border between North and South Korea when he unexpectedly sprinted across the heavily fortified frontier.

North Korean authorities have now finished questioning King and have decided to expel him, state media KCNA reported.

It said that he confessed to illegally entering the North because he harboured ill feeling against inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination within the US Army.

Officials said interim findings showed that King wanted refuge in North Korea or elsewhere because of that same reason. 

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It is not clear when or to where King would be expelled.

King become the first American confirmed to be detained in the North in almost five years when he was detained two months ago.

Following weeks of silence, North Korea confirmed in August that it had detained King and was questioning the circumstances surrounding his border crossing.

At the time he joined the civilian tour and crossed the border, he was supposed to be heading to Fort Bliss, Texas, following his release from prison in South Korea on an assault conviction.

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A court fined him 5million won ($3,950) in February after convicting him of assaulting a 23-year-old at a Seoul nightclub and damaging a police vehicle last October.

After King fled into North Korea, his mum Claudine Gates, who lives in Racine, Wisconsin, told ABC affiliate WISN 12 that she was shocked when Army officials told her.

She said: "I can't see Travis doing anything like that."

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