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Trump says North Korea released three US detainees

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A U.S. government handout photo released by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders shows U.S. Central Intelligence (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, North Korea in a photo that Sanders said was taken over Easter weekend 2018.

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Reuters

Image caption

The top US diplomat met with the North Korean leader during his visit

North Korea has freed three US citizens from prison, according to a tweet from US President Donald Trump.

The move is viewed as goodwill gesture ahead of a historic summit between Mr Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.

Mr Trump said he would greet the men when they return with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has been in Pyongyang to arrange the planned talks.

Kim Hak-song, Tony Kim and Kim Dong-chul had been jailed for anti-state activities and placed in labour camps.

Mr Trump announced the release of the men in a tweet on Wednesday.

“They seem to be in good health,” he wrote, adding that a date and location had been set for talks after a “good meeting with Kim Jong Un”.

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Reuters

Image caption

Tony Kim, pictured in California in 2016

Mr Trump added when they arrive at St Andrews Air Force Base at 02:00 EDT (06:00GMT) on Thursday.


Who are the freed Americans?

  • Kim Hak-song was held on suspicion of “hostile acts” in May 2017. He had previously described himself as a Christian missionary who intended to start an experimental farm at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST)
  • Tony Kim, also known as Kim Sang-duk, also worked at PUST. He was detained in April 2017 on espionage charges. According to South Korean media, he had been involved in humanitarian work in the North.
  • Kim Dong-chul, a pastor in his early 60s, was detained in 2015 on spying charges, and was then sentenced to 10 years hard labour.

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

This file picture released from North Korea”s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on March 25, 2016, shows Kim Dong-chul





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