North Korean leaders have released three prominent American captives to American custody this week. President Trump tweeted about the event, saying that he was “pleased to inform” the public 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.”
• All three Americans, including Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim (nee Kim Sang Duk), had been held by NK for various “crimes.”
• Dong Chul was first arrested on suspicion of espionage. Hak-song was arrested for “hostile acts” while he worked at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST).
• Tony Kim, on the other hand, also worked at PUST, but was arrested as he attempted to fly out of North Korea for “trying to overthrow the Government.”
• It isn’t clear whether evidence for any of the crimes exists. North Korea has a spotty history of accusing “outlanders” of crimes such as espionage, treason, and acts of war against the people and/or Kim Jong-un.
• President Trump also reported that Mike Pompeo personally ushered the three American-Korean citizens home. After picking them up in North Korea, Pompeo flew back with them to the United States.
• The three men are expected to make a full recovery, and surprisingly, are in reasonably good health. Pompeo shared that he was “delighted” to bring the men home, while Trump said he was “honored.”
• Trump also asserted a plan to meet with North Korea after their gesture of good will.