Thursday, March 4, 2021

Trump greets freed American detainees

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Isaac Kaledzihttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.
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US President Donald Trump has welcomed home three American detainees released by North Korea.

Mr Trump said it was a “special night for these really great people” as they arrived at the Andrews Air Force Base near Washington.

The White House said the trio had been freed as a gesture of goodwill ahead of the planned meeting between Mr Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Mr Trump said he thought the summit would be “a big success”.

The date and location have been decided but not yet announced.

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Mr Trump and his wife Melania entered the plane after it landed at about 02:45 local time (06:45 GMT) and a few minutes later emerged with the three men to wave to the media.

The president said he appreciated that Mr Kim had allowed the men to leave as “frankly we didn’t think that was going to happen before the meeting”.

Asked if this was his proudest achievement, he said that would be “when we denuclearise that entire peninsula”.

“It’s a great honour. But the true honour is going to be if we have a victory in getting rid of nuclear weapons.”

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Of the upcoming summit, he said: “I think that we’re going to have… a very big success… I really think we have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful.”

Mr Trump said he hoped he could travel to North Korea one day and that he believed Mr Kim wanted to bring his country “into the real world”.

The three men, Kim Hak-song, Tony Kim and Kim Dong-chul, were smiling and waving and appeared in good health.

In an impromptu chat before the media with Mr Trump, Kim Dong-chul said: “It’s like a dream and we are very, very happy. We were treated in many different ways. For me, I had to do a lot of labour. But when I got sick I was also treated by them.”

The three had released an earlier statement saying: “We would like to express our deep appreciation to the United States government, President Trump, Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo and the people of the United States for bringing us home.

“We thank God and all our families and friends who prayed for us and for our return.”

The trio had been jailed for anti-state activities and placed in labour camps.

It came during a visit to Pyongyang by Mr Pompeo to arrange details of the meeting between Mr Trump and Kim Jong-un.

Mr Kim said he had accepted a US proposal to grant the three detainees an amnesty, adding that his meeting with President Trump would be an “excellent first step” towards improving the situation on the Korean peninsula, according to the North Korean state news agency KCNA.

The convictions of the trio were widely condemned as political and an abuse of human rights.

  • 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

 

Source: BBC

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