Trump thanks Kim Jong-un after North Korea releases US prisoners

10 May 2018


President Trump welcomes Kim Dong-chul, Kim Hak-song, and Tony Kim back to the US at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, on Thursday 10 May

President Trump welcomes Kim Dong-chul, Kim Hak-song, and Tony Kim back to the US at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, on Thursday 10 May

THREE prisoners have been released by North Korea and have returned to the United States.

The men, Kim Dong-chul, Tony Kim, and Kim Hak-song, arrived near Washington, DC, on Thursday morning, and were greeted by President Donald Trump. Kim Dong-chul and Kim Hak-song are both Evangelicals.

On their arrival at Andrews Air Force Base, the trio spoke of their “deep appreciation to the United States government, President Trump, Secretary Pompeo [Secretary of State], and the people of the United States for bringing us home”.

They said: “We thank God and all our families and friends who prayed for us and for our return.”

Kim Dong-chul is reportedly a pastor, and Kim Hak-song has described himself as a Christian missionary in the past. All three were arrested on charges of espionage between 2015 and 2017.

Their return precedes a landmark summit between President Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. President Trump told reporters: “Hopefully everything is going to work out at the highest level. We want to thank Kim Jong-un, who really was excellent to these three incredible people.”

The three had been in captivity in forced-labour camps for periods ranging from one to two years.

Kim Dong-chul said: “It’s like a dream and we are very, very happy. We were treated in many different ways. For me, I had to do a lot of labour. But when I got sick I was also treated by them.”

President Trump said of the release: “That was a big thing, very important to me, and I really think we have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful.”

It came about as a result of Mr Pompeo’s visit to North Korea to arrange the meeting between the North Korean leader and the President.

Last month, North and South Korea made a commitment to “lasting peace” on the Korean peninsula in a joint statement (News, 27 April).

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