President Donald Trump announced Wednesday morning that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was returning from North Korea after successfully negotiating the release of three American citizens, Breitbart reports.
“I am pleased to inform you 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,” Trump announced on Twitter. “They seem to be in good health.”
One was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor in 2016 for an espionage conviction. Two others are scholars — one studies accounting, the other agriculture — who taught at a prestigious science and technology university before they were arrested in 2017 on suspicion of “hostile acts.”
All three are Korean-American men who were held in North Korea until Wednesday, when they were released during a visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.
Kim Hak-song, also known as Jin Xue Song, was charged with committing “hostile acts” against North Korea.
Tony Kim, also known as Kim Sang-duk, was charged with hostile criminal acts with an aim to subvert the country.
Kim Dong-chul, a businessman, was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor in April 2016 on charges of spying and other offenses, NY Times reports.
I am pleased to inform you 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. Also, good meeting with Kim Jong Un. Date & Place set.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 9, 2018
Otto F. Warmbier was a University of Virginia honors student with a passion for travel when he signed up for a five-day tour of North Korea with a Chinese company that advertised “budget travel to destinations your mother would rather you stayed away from.”
He was detained at the Pyongyang airport as he tried to leave in January 2016, charged with an unspecified “hostile act” against the reclusive government. Within two months, he was convicted after a one-hour trial of trying to steal a propaganda poster. Mr. Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.
Fifteen months later, Mr. Warmbier — gravely ill and in a coma — was medically evacuated from North Korea on Tuesday and on his way to his parents’ home in Cincinnati.
Intelligence reports in recent weeks indicating that Mr. Warmbier had been repeatedly beaten and tortured while in North Korean custody.
As the world rejoices at the sudden change of heart by North Korea, we have to hope that they will not forget the genocide of the North Korean people, the horrific torture of Mr. Warmbier as well as the countless acts of crimes against humanity by kim jong un and his regime.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.
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