Their release removes a point of tension as President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, prepare for their summit meeting, the first face-to-face encounter by the top leaders of the two nations.
Pompeo says the three American detainees freed as a goodwill gesture seem to be in good health “given all they have been through”.
The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, where Kim Hak-song and another detainee, Tony Kim, worked before their detention, said on Wednesday its leadership and worldwide faculty rejoiced over the news, thanking diplomats who have worked for the Americans release. No other Americans are believed to be held prisoner in North Korea.
“Socialist countries’ diplomacy has a tendency to emphasis symbolism and they tend to find that symbolism from history”, he said.
Former prisoners, who also have included tourists and journalists, have said they were interrogated for hours and suffered mental humiliation.
USA officials say Pompeo will also be pressing North Korea for the release of three detained American citizens, whose imminent release Trump has been hinting at.
At least one South Korean analyst has said North Korea made the move to demand the lifting of sanctions in return, but Trump made no mention Wednesday of any concessions Washington may have made. He has also previously cited Singapore as another possible site.
Trump is expected to meet with Kim sometime later this month or in June.
When the flight arrived Wednesday morning in Pyongyang, North Korean officials were on hand to greet Pompeo.
“You should make care that they do not make the same mistakes again”, the North Korean official was quoted as saying. “This was a hard decision”.
Relatively little is known about the men, all Korean-Americans, and the circumstances in which they ended up in North Korean custody.
“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. They will return home on Pompeo’s plane. John Roberts reports from the White House.
The focus at the moment is on Kim Jong-un, the leader in his mid-30s who has come out of his hermit kingdom to openly engage with powers that are relevant for peace in the Korean Peninsula, including the United States.
“For decades, we have been adversaries”. But he added: “They´d be anxious less about Trump pulling out of a deal than his successor”.
Jeffrey Fowle, a tourist held for about six months in North Korea for leaving a Bible in a sailor’s club during his visit, said the day he was released, he was told he was being transferred, and presented with belongings he had not seen for months. Under the previous Administration, I was a vocal opponent of their “strategic patience” strategy and advocated for a maximum pressure doctrine to counter North Korea. Some 28,500 USA forces are based in the allied nation, a military presence that has been preserved to deter North Korea since the war ended in 1953 without a peace treaty.
According to China´s official Xinhua news agency, Kim told Xi that “relevant parties” should “abolish their hostile policies and remove security threats against the DPRK”.
South Korea hailed the re lease of those three USA prisoners because of creation that will have a “good result” to the up coming summit between Kim and Trump – and known as for the release of six South Korean inmates to “reinforce reconciliation” initiatives.
“Xi knows that Trump admires him and would be more willing to accommodate him”.