The Long Mistake

In 1965, U.S. Army Sergeant Charles Robert Jenkins deserted his post in South Korea and fled to the communist North—a move he now calls "the stupidest thing I have ever done." He spent nearly four decades inside the Hermit Kingdom, as a lingering mystery of the cold war. In July, Pyongyang finally let Jenkins leave. He turned himself in to the U.S. Army in Japan and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. He left prison two weeks ago. In this special Time report, Jenkins, who has seen things in secretive North Korea that only a few Westerners have experienced, tells...

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