BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 October 2005, 13:37 GMT 14:37 UK
Deserter Jenkins writes memoirs
Former US army deserter Charles Jenkins at his press conference on Wednesday, 12 October 2005
Charles Jenkins has written the story of his unusual life
A former US soldier who deserted to North Korea in 1965, and lived there for 40 years, has written a book about his experiences.

Charles Jenkins, who now lives in Japan, held a press conference on Wednesday to promote his publication.

In his book, he denies defecting to North Korea for ideological reasons.

"I didn't understand that the country I was seeking to enter temporarily was an immense prison that defied all norms," he is quoted as writing.

Mr Jenkins left North Korea last year, giving himself up to US military authorities.

He was given a dishonourable discharge and put in a US military jail in Japan for 25 days.

Extraordinary tale

Mr Jenkins' book, To Tell the Truth, has so far only been published in Japanese, by Kadokawa Shoten Publishing, although the author says he is also looking for an American publisher.

"I decided to tell the story... not just my story but also my wife's, my daughters," he told a press conference on Wednesday.

I was not a communist sympathiser, nor did I harbour any affection toward North Korea
Charles Jenkins, in his book

The family's tale is certainly far from ordinary, and has already received widespread media attention - partly because few US soldiers have deserted to North Korea and partly because of Mr Jenkins' extraordinary life there.

He slipped across the border from South Korea one night while on patrol in the demilitarised zone between the two Koreas.

In the North he married Hitomi Soga, one of five Japanese abducted by North Korea and freed in 2002. The couple have two North Korean-born children.

Mr Jenkins is quoted as telling reporters on Wednesday that people from nations other than Japan were also kidnapped by North Korea.

He told the French news agency AFP that he knew both a Romanian and a Thai woman during his time in Pyongyang.

After his wife was freed and left for Japan in 2002, Mr Jenkins finally arranged, with the help of the Japanese government, to meet her in Indonesia in July.

He then went back with them to Japan to face US justice.

Mr Jenkins said that Japan was now his home, despite a short visit to see his mother in North Carolina in June.

"I still love America, it's true," he said. "But I still want to live in Japan."

US deserter reunited with mother
15 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
US army releases Korea deserter
27 Nov 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Jenkins deserted 'out of fear'
03 Nov 04 |  Asia-Pacific
North Korean mystery solved
03 Nov 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Japan gripped by Cold War love story
18 Jul 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Japan pleads with US for Jenkins
19 Jul 04 |  Asia-Pacific

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific