Three U.S. nationals previously detained in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) were set free and are currently on their way back home with the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted on Wednesday.
CGTN’s Sean Callebs reports.
The three Americans, Kim Dong-chul, Kim Sang-duk (Tony Kim) and Kim Hak-song, have been in DPRK custody since April 2016, April 2017, and May 2017 respectively. They were accused of carrying out espionage or “hostile acts.”
I am pleased to inform you that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the air and on his way back from North Korea with the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting. They seem to be in good health. Also, good meeting with Kim Jong Un. Date & Place set.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 9, 2018
Saying that the three “seem to be in good health,” Trump added they would land at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland at 2:00 a.m. local time.
The presidential office of the Republic of Korea (ROK) welcomed the release of the three U.S. nationals, saying it would have a “positive effect” for the upcoming summit between Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, spokesman of the Blue House Yoon Young-chan said.
In a statement, Seoul also urged the DPRK to release six ROK detainees to “reinforce reconciliation” and spread peace on the Korean Peninsula.
The Trump-Kim summit is expected to take place in May or early June, which aims to make progress on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and building relations.
Trump also tweeted “Date & Place set” during Pompeo’s second visit to Pyongyang, indicating the time and place for his expected meeting with the DPRK’s top leader Kim Jong Un had been decided on during Pompeo’s “good meeting with Kim Jong Un.” According to Pompeo, details of the much anticipated meeting should be announced in a few days.
(With input from Xinhua News Agency)