A US soldier named Travis King defected to North Korea on July 22, citing racism and mistreatment in the US as his reasons, according to North Korean state media.
King sought political asylum in North Korea and expressed admiration for leader Kim Jong-un.
He is the second US soldier to defect to North Korea since the Korean War, following James Dresnok.
The defection occurred amidst heightened tensions between the US and North Korea over nuclear and missile programs.
The US military confirmed King's disappearance and is working to verify the situation with South Korean authorities.
King could face criminal charges if he returns to the US due to the serious offense of defection to an enemy state.