Pompeo, in North Korea, could return with detained Americans
10 May, 2018, 00:31 | Author: Rachel Logan
Trumpsaid on Twitter that Pompeo was returning with "the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting".
ROK President Moon Jae-in during last month's inter-Korean summit requested DPRK leader Kim Jong Un return six South Korean citizens now detained in the North, South Korea's Senior Presidential Secretary for Public Relations said on Wednesday. However, he did not disclose either detail.
In an interview granted by North Korea to CNN, Kim Dong-chul said he was a naturalized USA citizen and lived in Fairfax, Virginia. He reportedly ran a trade and hotel service company in Rason, a special economic zone on North Korea's border with Russian Federation.
Possible locations include Singapore and the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea. He was sentenced in 2016 to 10 years in prison with hard labor after being convicted of espionage.
The other two detainees hadn't been tried. The university's co-founder said that Kim, who managed the school's experimental farm at the college of agriculture and life sciences, was detained in May while traveling on a train from Pyongyang to the Chinese border town of Dandong.
Kim Sang-duk, or Tony Kim, was arrested in April 2017 at the capital's main airport as he tried to leave the country after teaching for several weeks, also at PUST.
Kim is an ethnic Korean born in China.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has arrived in Japan for a summit with Japan and China that is expected to focus on North Korea's nuclear program and on improving the sometimes-frayed ties among the three northeast Asian neighbors.
North Korean state media says they were detained either for subversion or committing "hostile acts" against the government. "This is a proud and memorable moment for America", he added.
The Korean-American men, who all have the common surname of Kim but are not related, immediately boarded a plane with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was in Pyongyang to meet with Kim Jong Un and other top officials and lay the groundwork for the summit.
Kim Yong-chol reportedly took a moment to decry the worldwide sanctions placed on North Korea for its illegal nuclear weapons program and its extensive history of human rights atrocities, claiming that any diplomatic success in organizing talks with North Korean leaders was "not a result of sanctions that have been imposed from outside".
The fate of the three Korean-Americans had been among a number of delicate issues in the run-up to the first-ever meeting of US and North Korean leaders.
The trip came just days after North Korea expressed displeasure with Washington for comments suggesting that massive USA pressure had pushed Kim Jong Un to the negotiating table.
Trump announced Wednesday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was returning from North Korea with the three Americans.
Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura said the three leaders will work toward two free trade agreements - a pact among themselves and the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership with Southeast Asian nations.
After landing in Pyongyang, Pompeo met one of Kim's close aides on Wednesday, the director of the United Front Department responsible for North-South relations, four-star general Kim Yong Chol for a private meeting at the Hotel Koryo in Pyongyang.
Pompeotold reporters the administration would "in the next handful of days be able to announce date and time". This echoed remarks that both Korean leaders had been making about a new spring arriving on the peninsula. "Such behavior may result in endangering the security of its own country", it added, referring to the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Trump has said that his pressure tactics have brought North Korea to the negotiating table. The university is funded largely by evangelical Christians from the United States and China.
"I think there is reason for some optimism that these talks could be fruitful", U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said of the coming summit. Then he toasted Pompeo.
Abe said he hopes North Korea will give up its nuclear weapons in a complete and irreversible way.
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