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  • Pompeo flies back to US with three detainees freed by Kim
    Date:2018-05-10 

    US President Donald Trump says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is on his way back from North Korea with three American detainees, saying they "seem to be in good health."

    Trump tweeted the announcement yesterday, saying: "Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the air and on his way back from North Korea with the three wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting."

    Trump added that Pompeo had a "good meeting" with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, with whom he is planning a historic summit.

    In another tweet, Trump said Pompeo and the detainees will be landing at Andrews Air Force Base at 2am Thursday (2pm today in Hong Kong). He added: "I will be there to greet them. Very exciting!"

    Trump views the release "as a positive gesture of goodwill," said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

    The three "appeared to be in good condition" and were "able to walk on the plane without assistance."

    The three detainees are Korean-American missionary Kim Dong Chul; Kim Sang-duk, also known as Tony Kim, who spent a month teaching at the foreign-funded Pyongyang University of Science and Technology before he was arrested in 2017; and Kim Hak Song, who also taught at PUST.

    A US official said "substantial progress" has been made on plans for the summit.

    While Pompeo met with top North Korean leaders, including Kim, lower-level officials from the two countries were planning the nuts-and-bolts logistics for a meeting between Kim and Trump.

    The US official, who was involved in those talks, said the two sides would meet once again to finalize the details. No specifics were offered although other officials said Singapore is emerging as the most likely venue. The unprecedented meeting has been slated for this month or early June.

    Pompeo arrived in Pyongyang yesterday from Japan. The top US diplomat and officials accompanying him were feted at a lunch by Kim Yong Chol, a former spy chief and now director of the United Front Department responsible for inter-Korean relations.

    Trump earlier broke the news of Pompeo's second visit to North Korea in less than six weeks and said the two countries had agreed on a date and location for the summit, although he stopped short of providing details.

    Pompeo told Kim during lunch that the United States was committed to achieving peace on the peninsula.



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