US President Donald Trump has announced that three American citizens detained in North Korea have been released and are on their way back to the US along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
US President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had successfully secured the released of three American citizens detained in North Korea.
The president tweeted that Pompeo was on his way back to the US from Pyongyang with the three released prisoners. “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,” he tweeted, adding the former detainees appeared “to be in good health.”
Who are three US citizens released by North Korea?
- Kim Hak-song, who is in his mid-50s, was working at Pyongyang’s University of Science and Technology (PUST), specializing in agricultural development, during the time of his arrest. Born in Jilin, China, Kim went to university in California and continued to live in the US for 10 years. He subsequently moved back to China before going on to work in Pyongyang. He was arrested in May 2017 on suspicion of planning to commit “hostile acts” against the government, according to the North.
- Kim Sang-duk, who also goes by the name Tony Kim, is a former professor at China’s Yanbian University of Science and Technology, close to the Korean border. The university website lists his speciality as accounting. South Korea media reported that Kim, who is reportedly in his 50s, had taken part in relief work in North Korea’s rural parts and also taught at PUST. He was arrested in Pyongyang although the reason for his arrest remains unclear.
- Kim Dong-chulis a South Korea-born American businessman and pastor in his 60s. He was arrested in October 2015 after allegedly receiving a USB stick containing confidential military information and nuclear secrets from a North Korea soldier. He was charged by North Korean authorities in April 2016 with subversion and espionage, and sentenced to 10 years’ hard In a January 2016 interview with CNN, Kim said he was a naturalized American living in Fairfax, Virginia. He also said that he had previously run a hotel services company in North Korea’s special economic zone of Rason, located near the border with China and Russia.