STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Release of Americans held in North Korea 'imminent,' source says

The release of three US nationals currently detained in North Korea is "imminent," according to an official with knowledge of the ongoing negotiations.

Posted: May 3, 2018 9:17 AM
Updated: May 3, 2018 9:18 AM

The release of three US nationals currently detained in North Korea is "imminent," according to an official with knowledge of the ongoing negotiations. The official told CNN the North Koreans made the decision to free the Americans two months ago, and that North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho had proposed their release during his visit to Sweden in March US officials insisted at the time that their release "must not be related or used to loosen the main issue of denuclearization," the source said.


The three Americans, Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang Duk, also known as Tony Kim, have been detained in North Korea for months.

Donald Trump, who looks set to become the first sitting US President to meet a North Korean leader during a planned summit with Kim Jong Un, said last month his administration was fighting "very diligently to get the three Americans back."


Trump hinted at a potential development in their case Wednesday night Washington time in a tweet: "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!"
Kim Dong Chul has been in North Korean custody since before Trump was elected, the other two detainees were arrested last spring, after Trump's inauguration and as tensions between Washington and Pyongyang were beginning to ramp up.


Tony Kim and Kim Hak-song, who were arrested in April and May of 2017 respectively, were both accused of carrying out "hostile acts" against the Kim Jong Un regime. Both worked at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) which bills itself as the only privately run university in the North Korean capital.


Tony Kim's son, Kim Sol, said that he and his family "are hopeful but we have no indication that they (the detained Americans) have been released" in a Facebook post after Trump's tweet.


The family members of the two educators have said their loved ones are innocent. Shortly after he was detained, Kim Hak-song's wife said in an interview with CNN that her husband is an agricultural expert and was teaching rice-growing at the university, trying to help North Koreans feed themselves.


Kim Dong Chul was arrested in 2015 for spying on behalf of South Korea, he told CNN in January 2016. The interview was conducted in the presence of North Korean officials, so CNN could not determine whether Kim's comments were made under duress.
Goodwill gesture?


A source at the White House National Security Council said if North Korea were to release the trio, it would be viewed it as a good will gesture ahead of the planned summit with Kim Jong Un.


"Their safety and well-being will factor into future interactions between the United States and North Korean government," the source said.


Trump said last month his administration was fighting "very diligently to get the three Americans back" and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told ABC News he brought up the detainees during his secret meeting with Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang over Easter weekend.


Only one American has been released from North Korean detention during the Trump's presidency: Otto Warmbier.
The former University of Virginia student was arrested while on a tour of North Korea and held for 17 months. He returned to the US in a vegetative state and died days later.


North Korean officials said he contracted botulism, but US doctors found no evidence to verify that claim.
Warmbier's parents have since filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the North Korean government.

Huntsville
Few Clouds
78° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 80°
Florence
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 82°
Fayetteville
Overcast
77° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 78°
Decatur
Few Clouds
78° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 80°
Scottsboro
Broken Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 78°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 44375

Reported Deaths: 984
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5221152
Montgomery4127103
Mobile4080134
Tuscaloosa228842
Marshall171110
Madison14307
Lee138437
Shelby128423
Morgan11025
Walker93924
Elmore92514
Franklin89514
Dallas8809
Baldwin8649
Etowah73913
DeKalb7195
Butler63328
Chambers62927
Autauga60712
Tallapoosa59169
Russell5520
Unassigned50323
Houston4964
Limestone4950
Lauderdale4906
Lowndes47221
Cullman4524
Pike4295
Colbert3956
St. Clair3822
Coffee3772
Bullock36910
Covington3587
Calhoun3545
Escambia3506
Barbour3492
Hale31121
Talladega3097
Marengo30211
Wilcox2918
Dale2880
Sumter28512
Clarke2746
Jackson2732
Winston2583
Chilton2462
Blount2351
Monroe2352
Pickens2356
Marion22413
Conecuh2097
Randolph2069
Choctaw19512
Macon1949
Bibb1901
Greene1868
Perry1771
Henry1343
Crenshaw1253
Washington1097
Lawrence1080
Cherokee977
Geneva800
Lamar771
Fayette701
Clay652
Coosa581
Cleburne361
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 51316

Reported Deaths: 645
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby11793200
Davidson11089122
Rutherford298735
Hamilton278135
Sumner161052
Trousdale14985
Williamson131315
Out of TN11857
Knox11717
Wilson94117
Putnam8837
Robertson83411
Sevier8043
Bradley7073
Lake6920
Tipton6455
Unassigned6351
Bledsoe6201
Bedford5705
Montgomery5547
Macon4654
Maury3543
Hardeman3434
Hamblen3404
Fayette3172
Madison2992
Loudon2871
Rhea2860
Dyer2511
McMinn23718
Cheatham2301
Blount2273
Dickson2090
Cumberland1814
Washington1650
Lawrence1636
Lauderdale1453
Anderson1422
Monroe1406
Jefferson1360
Gibson1291
Smith1201
Coffee1190
Sullivan1172
Obion1122
Hardin1087
Greene1032
Cocke940
Haywood922
Marshall911
Franklin873
Wayne860
Hickman800
Warren760
Marion734
McNairy730
White703
DeKalb670
Lincoln640
Weakley641
Grundy621
Overton621
Roane620
Giles601
Carter591
Hawkins572
Unicoi550
Campbell481
Carroll471
Henderson460
Claiborne450
Polk450
Henry440
Johnson440
Grainger420
Sequatchie420
Crockett383
Cannon370
Chester340
Perry340
Meigs320
Humphreys281
Jackson270
Morgan271
Stewart230
Decatur220
Fentress220
Union180
Clay170
Scott170
Houston150
Benton131
Moore120
Van Buren80
Hancock60
Lewis60
Pickett60

 

 

Community Events