In an unprecedented move, North Korea has freed three American prisoners and handed them over to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. This has cleared one of the major roadblocks to the upcoming summit between US President Donald Trump and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un. President Trump has hailed the gesture as a goodwill measure and said that the three released men were on their way to the US on the diplomat’s plane. President Trump will personally greet them when they land on Andrews Air Force Base early Sunday morning.
The release has made it evident the Kim Jong Un has taken extra steps to please the Americans and set a more cordial tone before the Summit. Kim had earlier vowed to dismantle North Korea’s only nuclear test site and also suspend its ballistic missile program. The recent move is expected to add to pressure on President Trump to consider making further concessions to the North Korean regime to get Pyongyang abandon its nuclear weapons. The release is a feather in Trump’s cap as a great diplomatic success something it dearly needed amid growing criticism from the European allies as Trump has pulled out from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. President Trump appreciated Kim’s gesture of releasing the prisoners and allowing them to go back to the US.
The move was hailed by both China and South Korea as a positive step before the Kim-Trump summit. The three men flew back in less than an hour after their release. They are Kim Dong-Chul the Korean-American missionary and Kim Hak-song both of whom were teaching at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. The duo was arrested on charges of hostile acts against the Korean regime.