Three Americans who were imprisoned by North Korea are on their way back to the United States, President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday, following their release during US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Pyongyang.
The three men left the country with Pompeo and are expected to arrive back in the US early Thursday.
Pompeo visited the North Korean capital on Wednesday to discuss the details of the proposed summit between the US and North Korean leaders.
One of the prisoners is Tony Kim, who is also known as Kim Sang-duk, a professor who was detained in April 2017 on accusations of spying for South Korea’s intelligence agencies. The other two hostages are believed to be Kim Dong-chul, arrested in 2015, and Kim Hak-song, who was detained shortly after Tony Kim’s arrest.
“President Trump appreciates leader Kim Jong Un’s action to release these American citizens, and views this as a positive gesture of goodwill,” the White House said in a statement, adding, “the three Americans appear to be in good condition and were all able to walk on the plane without assistance.”
“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,” Trump said on Twitter.
Trump also tweeted that Pompeo, accompanied by the three men, would arrive at Andrews Air Force Base at 2:00 am Eastern Time and that he would greet them personally.
In April, hopes were sparked by the historical summit gathering the leaders of North and South Korea, where they signed a declaration to work on the denuclearisation of the peninsula and ending the Korean war.