Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
Industry | By Johnnie Johnson

Pompeo flies home with US prisoners freed by Kim

Pompeo flies home with US prisoners freed by Kim

The family of Tony Kim, one of freed prisoners, thanked Trump, saying in a statement: 'We are very grateful for the release of our husband and father, Tony Kim, and the other two American detainees'. "God Bless America, the greatest nation in the world".

"Nobody thought this was going to happen, and if it did, it would be years or decades, frankly", Trump told reporters at the White House after Pompeo confirmed their release.

US President Donald Trump said details about the time and place of his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would be announced "within three days".

"They seem to be in good health".

Trump and Kim are set to meet in Singapore on June 12.

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Trump, who personally greeted the trio at the Andrews Air Force Base, praised Kim for their release ahead of their summit.

He said: 'I will be there to greet them. North Korean officials accused the two of anti-state activities and trying to overthrow the government.

The three men were jubilant to be back on American soil as Trump escorted them from their plane.

One of the hostages, Kim Dong Chul, a South Korean-born USA citizen, had been held the longest.

Kim Sang-duk (also known as Tony Kim) and Kim Hak-song - both of whom had worked with the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) - were detained for alleged "hostile acts" in April and May a year ago. But it also comes amid renewed uncertainty around how the summit will pan out, after Trump's decision earlier this week to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.

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Tensions began to ease, coinciding with the North's participation in the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February. He had been captive for 17 months. He reportedly ran a trade and hotel service company in Rason, a special economic zone on North Korea's border with Russian Federation.

The pair discussed the possible agenda for the meeting between their leaders.

The two men exchanged fiery rhetoric past year over North Korea's attempts to build a nuclear weapon that could reach the United States but tensions have since calmed considerably.

The hostage release is the latest sign of improving relations between longtime adversaries in the build-up to a historic summit between Mr Trump and North Korea's King Jong-un.

The tweeted announcement capped weeks of negotiations that began when Trump announced March 8 he had accepted Kim's invitation as delivered by South Korea government officials.

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