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Trump says North Korea has released three American prisoners

Trump says North Korea has released three American prisoners

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The top US diplomat met with the North Korean leader during his visit

North Korea has freed three US citizens from prison, according to a tweet from US President Donald Trump.

The move is viewed as goodwill gesture ahead of a historic meeting between Mr Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

Mr Trump said he would greet the men when they return with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has been in Pyongyang to arrange the planned talks.

Kim Hak-song, Tony Kim and Kim Dong-chul had been jailed for anti-state activities and placed in labour camps.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Tony Kim, pictured in California in 2016

Who are the freed Americans?

  • Kim Hak-song was held on suspicion of "hostile acts" in May 2017. He had previously described himself as a Christian missionary who intended to start an experimental farm at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST)
  • Tony Kim, also known as Kim Sang-duk, also worked at PUST. He was detained in April 2017 on espionage charges. According to South Korean media, he had been involved in humanitarian work in the North.
  • Kim Dong-chul, a pastor in his early 60s, was detained in 2015 on spying charges, and was then sentenced to 10 years hard labour.
Image copyright AFP
Image caption This file picture released from North Korea"s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on March 25, 2016, shows Kim Dong-chul

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