North Korea frees 3 American prisoners

North Korea frees 3 American prisoners

ROK President Moon Jae-in during last month's inter-Korean summit requested DPRK leader Kim Jong Un return six South Korean citizens now detained in the North, South Korea's Senior Presidential Secretary for Public Relations said on Wednesday.

The three prisoners appear to be "in good health", President Trump said, despite being imprisoned for alleged "hostile acts". "They welcome American sponsors and multilateral consortiums coming into North Korea", he said in an interview with the media.

Both also attended the inter-Korean summit with South Korean president Moon Jae-in late last month.

The three Americans are Kim Dong-chul, Kim Sang-duk, and Kim Hak-song.

"We'll talk about it again today", he said.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that Trump viewed the release "as a positive gesture of goodwill".

Their conversation covers the escalating stakes and varied regional interests behind the upcoming US-North Korea summit, what Kim Jong Un may be thinking - and willing to concede - and what President Trump must achieve in the leaders' historic and highly-anticipated meeting.

Here's what we know about the newly released men: KIM DONG CHULKim was detained the longest of the three, having spent at least 900 days in custody. We want to thank all of those who have worked toward and contributed to his return home.

But former spy chief Kim Yong Chul, director of North Korea's United Front Department, said in a toast to Pompeo over lunch in Pyongyang: "We have perfected our nuclear capability. Now we are hopeful that we can work together to resolve this conflict, take away threats to the world and make your country have all the opportunities your people so richly deserve", Mr Pompeo said. It added that the family appreciates "the support and prayers of friends and even strangers during this challenging year". You are dear to our hearts.

Last Thursday, Trump hinted at the possibility of the release of the hostages, who were detained in North Korea. "Thank you", it added. Two of the men, Kim Hak-Song and Tony Kim, were detained after Trump's inauguration in January 2017.

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Speaking to reporters, Pompeo said his meetings with the North Koreans were "very productive".

The family members of the two educators have said their loved ones are innocent.

Signs that the prisoners' release might be imminent emerged last week amid unconfirmed reports that the detainees had been moved from prisons to a hotel in or near the capital, Pyongyang.

According to media reports, Kim Dong Chul was a South Korea-born US citizen and former Virginia resident. North Korean officials accused the two of anti-state activities and trying to overthrow the government.

US Vice President Mike Pence welcomed North Korea's release of three American detainees but vowed not to ease pressure on the regime until it fully abandons its nuclear weapons program, Yonhap reported.

Trump also promised that he would be there to greet the released prisoners when they land at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington.

"What happens to denuclearization, what happens to peace treaty. those are the key issues we need to concentrate ," said Yun, who is now a CNN global affairs analyst.

Negotiations for the release of the three Americans reportedly began two months ago when North Korea's foreign minister floated the idea during a visit to Sweden.

Clapper told CBS that he carried a short letter from Obama identifying him as the presidential envoy but made it clear that his mission was recovering the two United States citizens.

South Korea hailed the release of the three USA prisoners as a development that would have a "positive effect" on the upcoming summit between Kim and Trump - and also called for the release of six South Korean prisoners to "reinforce reconciliation" efforts.

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