American citizens jailed in North Korea released, on their way home

10 May, 2018, 00:30 | Author: Myra Gill
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The comments came following the news that North Korea had released three us citizens into the custody of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was in Pyongyang to continue preparations for a planned summit between Kim and President Donald Trump. Trump made the announcement via Twitter, describing the news as "very exciting".

Trump also said that a date and location have now been set for his meeting with Kim Jong Un.

The three US detainees still being held are Korean-American missionary Kim Dong-chul; Kim Sang-duk, also known as Tony Kim, who spent a month teaching at the foreign-funded Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) before he was arrested in 2017; and Kim Hak-song, who also taught at PUST.

Since 2008 the three countries have taken turns hosting the annual gatherings, which have sometimes been put on hold due to Japan's chilled ties with its two neighbors over historical and territorial disputes, as well as political turmoil in South Korea.

North Korea tried Kim Kook Kie and Choi Chun Kil in June 2015 for "anti-DPRK espionage activities under the manipulation of the USA and puppet south Korea", sentencing them to "indefinite compulsory labor".

Pompeo travelled to North Korea to prepare for the summit between Trump and the North Korean leader Kim.

Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura said the three leaders will work toward two free trade agreements - a pact among themselves and the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership with Southeast Asian nations.

"For decades, we have been adversaries". Trump also said he plans to meet with the released Americans when they land at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

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

The economic sanctions against North Korea may be having the desired effect, the former US envoy to the six-party talks with North Korea South Korea, Ambassador Joseph DeTrani told former Central Intelligence Agency acting Director Michael Morell this week. "This is not the result of sanctions that have been imposed from outside". "We ask that you continue to pray for the people of North Korea and for the release of all who are still being held".

Otto Warmbier, another US citizen, was held in North Korea before his release previous year. Trump announced the mission Tuesday afternoon as he laid out his case for withdrawing from a landmark nuclear deal with Iran, another bitter United States adversary. There was no elaboration until Pompeo's departure from Pyongyang on Wednesday.

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


Pompeo was on the ground in North Korea for 13 hours. News of it did not emerge until just before his Senate confirmation vote less than two weeks ago.

U.S. officials were infuriated by Warmbier's death and Trump has accused North Korea of brutally abusing the American student.

The Trump-Kim meeting is expected later this month or in early June. "I think we have a really good shot at making it successful but lots of things can happen", he said.

On March 26, Chinese President Xi Jinping also met with Kim in Beijing and the latter promised a nuclear-free peninsula.

A North Korean official came to the hotel shortly afterwards to inform Pompeo that Kim had granted their release, according to a senior USA official present for the exchange. Trump is hoping to now make headway against North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

Pence says President Donald Trump's "tough minded diplomacy" has led to the release of three Americans detained in North Korea.

He added, however, that Trump's sanctions had nothing to do with the relaxing of the tensions in the peninsula.

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. The President appeared to be referring to a study from the right-leaning Media Research Center that showed 91 percent of the coverage of Trump's administration from network news outlets through the first four months of 2018 was negative.

While the three Asian neighbors are closely linked economically, anti-Japanese sentiment runs deep in China and South Korea because of territorial and historical disputes dating back to Japan's colonization of the Korean Peninsula and invasion of China in the first half of the 20th century.

North Korea claimed he had been engaged in "hostile acts" against North Korea, KCNA reported.

Since coming to office Trump has embarked on a campaign of "maximum pressure" on the North Korean regime.

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