President Donald Trump added to speculation that North Korea made a huge concession before his planned summit with dictator Kim Jong Un.
The Business Insider reports that three U.S. citizens held prisoner in North Korea have been released, indicating a major triumph for Trump.
Throwing shade at former President Barack Obama, Trump tweeted, “As everybody is aware, the past Administration has long been asking for three hostages to be released from a North Korean Labor camp, but to no avail. Stay tuned!”
As everybody is aware, the past Administration has long been asking for three hostages to be released from a North Korean Labor camp, but to no avail. Stay tuned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2018
The citizens have reportedly been released as of Wednesday and given health treatment and ideological education in Pyongyang, The Financial Times reported.
“We heard it through our sources in North Korea late last month,” Choi Sung-ryong told the news outlet. “We believe that Mr. Trump can take them back on the day of the US-North Korea summit or he can send an envoy to take them back to the US before the summit.”
The news of the releases of the detainees adds to the series of concession by Kim. He has recently caved to Trump’s demands of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
The three Americans released include Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song, and Kim Dang-duk.
Dong Chul, a South Korean-born U.S. citizen, has been held the longest. The former Virginia resident was sentenced in April 2016 to 10 years in prison with hard labor after being convicted of espionage. He reportedly ran a trade and hotel service company in Rason, a special economic zone on North Korea’s border with Russia.
Hak Song, worked in agricultural development at an experimental farm run by the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. The university is the only privately funded college in North Korea and was founded in 2010 with donations from Christian groups. He was detained last May for alleged anti-state activities.
Sang-duk, also known as Tony Kim, was detained a year ago at the Pyongyang airport. He taught accounting at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. He was accused of committing unspecified criminal acts intended to overthrow the government.
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Trump critics have often criticized his combative style and aggressive maneuvering with the North Korean leader, but so far his tactics have proven to be successful.
Although Trump still has a ways to go to repair the torn relationship between the U.S. and North Korea, but his early wins have signaled a great peace in on the horizon.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.