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World & Nation

‘Stay tuned’ for news on Americans detained in North Korea, Trump tweets

Moon Jae-in, Kim Jong Un
People watch a TV screen showing file footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul.
(Ahn Young-joon / Associated Press)

President Trump is hinting there may soon be an update on the three Americans being held captive in North Korea.

Trump tweeted Wednesday: “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!”

The president is preparing for a potential summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, tentatively scheduled for May or early June.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kim discussed the Americans last month when Pompeo visited North Korea. Trump has said the U.S. is working hard to win the Americans’ freedom.

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Trump’s national security advisor, John Bolton, said the release of the Americans would be a “demonstration of their sincerity” in the lead-up to the summit.

Here’s a brief look at those U.S. citizens:

Kim Dong Chul, Tony Kim, Kim Hak Song
A television news broadcast displays a portrait of three Americans detained in North Korea: from left, Kim Dong Chul, Tony Kim and Kim Hak Song.
(Ahn Young-joon / Associated Press)

Kim Dong Chul

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Kim, 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.

Kim Hak Song

Kim 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.

Tony Kim

Tony Kim, who also uses the name Kim Sang-duk, 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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