United States President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and their families welcomed home the three American prisoners who had detained in North Korea, at Joint Base Andrews Maryland, shortly after 2:30 Thursday April 10, 2018.
The three men stood for a time smiling and waving at those gathered to welcome them home in what appeared to be a surreal moment in time. While they departed the plane smiling and appeared to be in good health, it also was apparent one or two were becoming overwhelmed by all the attention focused on them.
The announcement of the trio’s potential release came earlier this month after the three men had been transferred for care to Pyongyang. Kim Jong-un,Tuesday night officially released the men to Secretary of State Pompeo as a good faith measure. One in which Kim Jong-Un hoped sealed the deal for him to become the First North Korean Leader to have a sit-down meeting with a sitting United States President. The date and location for that meeting have now been announced for June 12, in Singapore.
Now that the three men are safely back in the United States at Walter Reed for observation and care here is a little information about them:
Kim Dong-chul at one time lived in Fairfax,Virginia. He was arrested in late 2015, on the charges of espionage and subversion. At his trial in April 2016, he was sentenced to ten years of hard labor.
Tony Kim – (Kim Sang-duk) taught Business Administration at Yanbian University of Science and Technology. YUST a sister school Pyongyang University of Science and Technology is in Yanji, China, on the China – North Korean border. After a month of being a guest professor at PUST, he was arrested at Pyongyang’s International airport prior to a boarding an international flight in May 2017. He was accused of committing acts to overthrow the government.
Kim Hak-song was an agriculture professor at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, PUST was detained in May 2017 while at the university. He was accused of committing acts to overthrow the government.
It is unclear whether Tony Kim and Kim Hang-Song who both taught at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology and were detained within weeks of each other even knew each other or were connected.
The release of the US detainees came after the latest rounds of diplomatic discussions between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un on May 9.
While United States Officials were hopeful that the DPRK in a show of good faith, would release the three Americans, nothing could truly be considered official until the entire contingency was airborne. At which time President Trump’s announcement via twitter of the three American's release.
In time, people hope to learn more regarding how the trio were treated while detained by North Korea but for now we are grateful they are free and back home.