Three Americans released from North Korea

Leroy Wright
May 10, 2018

The pair discussed the possible agenda for the meeting between their leaders. A White House official says President Donald Trump.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to North Korea to meet with high-ranking officials this week-but he seemed confused as to how to refer to the country's leader, Kim Jong Un.

Trump said he will greet Pompeo and the Americans when they land at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington at 2 a.m. EDT (0600 GMT) Thursday morning.

"I think it would be a great gesture if they would agree to do so", Pompeo said, adding that it would be hard to hold a leaders' summit if the prisoners remained captive.

Three American detainees have been freed by North Korea and are heading home with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, US President Donald Trump said Wednesday.

"I appreciate Kim Jong Un doing this and allowing them to go", Trump said Wednesday before a meeting of his Cabinet.

The three men - Kim Hak-Song, also known as Jin Xue Song; Tony Kim, also known as Kim Sang-Duk; and Kim Dong-Chul - were seized by the North Koreans between 2015 and 2017, and accused of a variety of anti-state offenses.

The family of 59-year-old Tony Kim is thanking "all of those who have worked toward and contributed to his return home".

The three had been held for periods ranging between one and two years.

"They want American investment coming to North Korea". His parents have filed a wrongful death lawsuit, accusing the government of torturing and killing their son.

Kim Dong Chul, a South Korea-born US citizen and former Virginia resident, was sentenced in April 2016 to 10 years in prison with hard labor after being convicted of espionage. The businessman who once ran a hotel in the North said he had tried to steal military secrets for South Korea during a staged press conference in 2016.

He did not mention that two of the Americans had been detained after he became President. The university's co-founder said that Kim, who managed the school's experimental farm at the college of agriculture and life sciences, was detained in May while traveling on a train from Pyongyang to the Chinese border town of Dandong. He was detained last May for alleged anti-state activities. Kim Sang Duk and Kim Hak-song, were arrested in April and May of past year, accused of carrying out "hostile acts". He taught accounting at PUST.

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In previous cases, detainees have been set free into the care of high-profile U.S. visitors, but there was no immediate indication they would be released after Pompeo held talks with Kim Yong Chul, director of the North's United Front department, one of the organisations handling relations with the South.

"For decades, we have been adversaries".

Pence says Pompeo did a "remarkable job" overseeing their release and calls it a "proud and memorable moment for America".

Kim Dong-chul, Tony Kim and Kim Hak-song on TV news reports in Seoul, South Korea, this month.

Abe praised efforts by Moon and China to engage North Korea and said further efforts on denuclearisation were essential.

The release of American student Otto Warmbier past year was secured after Joseph Yun, the State Department's then-special representative for North Korea policy, made a secret trip to Pyongyang.

Pompeo's trip to Pyongyang was timed with Trump's declaration that the US would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. There was no elaboration until Pompeo's departure from Pyongyang on Wednesday.

President Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un held their second meeting in two months earlier this week in the Chinese city of Dalian, during which Mr Kim said he hoped for "phased" and "synchronised" measures to realise denuclearisation and lasting peace on the Korean peninsula.

Pompeo took office just two weeks ago, but the West Point grad is a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Kim's family issued a statement through their lawyer, Randall Brandt after his release was made public. This trip was "to put in place a framework for a successful summit", he said.

In a highly scripted appearance in Pyongyang six months after he was detained, Kim Dong-chul appealed for mercy for his "unpardonable" acts, wiping away his tears. Credit to anyone but North and South Korea for the event occurring is "seriously contrary to the principle of national independence", the piece argues. The South Korean president's name is spelled Moon Jae-in, for example, whereas North Koreans typically write "Kim Jong Un" as three distinct names, without a hyphen.

Kim was quoted by China's official news agency Xinhua as saying on Monday, "I hope to build mutual trust with the U.S. through dialogue".

Officials in Washington believe the punitive economic measures have prompted fuel shortages in North Korea and increased tension inside the regime.

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