WHAT: In a victory for the world, President Trump secured the release of three brave Americans, who have safely returned to the United States, from detention by North Korea.
In the early hours of May 10, 2018, President Donald J. Trump had the honor of welcoming three Americans as they finally returned home after being detained in North Korea. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo escorted the detainees back to the United States following discussions with North Korea earlier in the week.
Kim Dong Chul was detained in the fall of 2015, and was later sentenced to ten years of hard labor. He is the longest-held American detainee in North Korea on record, having been held in detention for almost 900 days. Asked how it felt to finally return home, Kim Dong Chul remarked, “It’s like a dream.”
Kim Sang Duk, known as Tony Kim, was arrested in April 2017 while teaching as a professor at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. He had not been tried or sentenced. During his time in detention, Kim Sang Duk’s son led a social media campaign to help raise public awareness about the three detained Americans.
Kim Hak Song was also associated with Pyongyang University of Science and Technology and was detained in North Korea in May 2017. He was not tried or sentenced.
WHY: The release of the three Americans is a sign of goodwill as President Trump’s Administration continues its ongoing diplomatic efforts with North Korea.
Freeing Kim Dong Chul, Kim Sang Duk, and Kim Hak Song is a step in the right direction, as negotiations continue ahead of President Trump’s upcoming meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12. North Korea released the three Americans during Secretary Pompeo’s visit to Pyongyang to discuss the details of the meeting.
President Trump’s Administration has worked with allies and partners to bring North Korea into negotiation. North Korea’s complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization is President Trump’s top priority in talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. President Trump will continue the significant progress his Administration has already made in order to achieve this goal.