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Former Hostages Thank Trump For Release From North Korea

Former Hostages Thank Trump For Release From North Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday said a planned summit between himself and U.S. President Donald Trump will be a major step forward for their two countries' relations. "You'll be the first to know about it".

The modified Boeing 757 had taken off from Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington late Monday night, bound for North Korea, when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came to the back of the plane. The Korean-American accounting professor had been working at the Pyongyang University of Science Technology, an institution privately funded by Christian groups in the West.

The detainees had departed North Korea late Tuesday after being in prison for nearly a year. The city-state of 5.5 million people boasts security partnerships with the USA, a North Korean embassy and strong ties with China. It would not be held in the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea, he said, though more details weren't disclosed.

"I appreciate Kim Jong Un for doing this", Trump said.

President Donald Trump scored a diplomatic victory Wednesday as North Korea freed three imprisoned USA citizens to return to the United States with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a goodwill gesture from dictator Kim Jong Un ahead of his summit with the president.

Talking briefly to reporters before a Cabinet meeting, Trump thanked Kim in language that was unimaginable just months ago when the two exchanged threats of nuclear annihilation.

They were detained in 2017 and charged with "hostile acts" against the North Korean state. "Mostly, we thank God for Tony's safe return", the family wrote in a statement Wednesday. "God bless America, the greatest nation in the world".

She added: "For more than 60 years, the people of North Korea have faced egregious human rights violations in virtually every aspect of life".

An official with knowledge of the negotiations previously told CNN that the North Koreans chose to free the Americans two months ago, and that North Korea's foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, had proposed their release during his visit to Sweden in March. We want to thank all of those who have worked toward and contributed to his return home.

In a statement, Warmbier's family said it was "happy for the hostages and their families", adding, "We miss Otto".

Tony Kim and Kim Hak-song, who were arrested in April and May of 2017, respectively, were both accused of carrying out "hostile acts" against the Kim Jong Un regime.

"We are very grateful for the release of our husband and father, Tony Kim, and the other two American detainees".

"We appreciate all of the support and prayers of friends and even strangers during this challenging year".

President Donald Trump tweeted about the possible release of the Americans on May 2, writing: "As everybody is aware, the past Administration has always been asking for three hostages to be released from a North Korean Labor camp, but to no avail".

On Tuesday it was announced that Pompeo was en route to the North for final preparatory talks on the upcoming summit. However, he was left in a coma after his labor camp ordeal and died days after returning to Ohio.

"I think there is, for some, optimism that these talks could be fruitful".

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