North Korea releases three American detainees

FE Online Desk | Published: May 09, 2018 20:12:33 | Updated: May 10, 2018 11:20:12

From left: Kim Dong-chul, Tony Kim and Kim Hak-song on TV news reports in Seoul, South Korea, this month. North Korea released the three men, all American citizens, on Wednesday. Photo: AP

North Korea has freed three Americans detained in labour camps of the country, removing a bitter and emotional obstacle ahead of historic US-North Korean summit.

The three Americans are now on their way home with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

US President Donald Trump came up with the revelations on Wednesday, reports Reuters.

Kim Hak-song, Kim Dong-chul and Kim Sang-duk, who is also known as Tony Kim, had all been detained by Kim Jong Un's regime for up to two years.

“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,” Trump wrote in a post on Twitter.

"They seem to be in good health,” Trump wrote.

Trump said he will greet Pompeo and the Americans when they land at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington on Thursday morning (local time).

“Very exciting!” he wrote on Twitter.

The fate of Korean-Americans Kim Hak-song, Tony Kim and Kim Dong-chul had been among a number of delicate issues in the run-up to the first-ever meeting of US and North Korean leaders.

Trump sent Pompeo to Pyongyang to accompany the men home following US calls for Kim to free them as a gesture of goodwill and sincerity before the US-North Korea meeting.

The meeting is expected to take place in late May or early June.

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