North Korea has released three US citizens who had been held prisoner by the communist dictatorship, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported, citing a South Korean activist who lobbies for the release of detainees.
The releases — which have not been confirmed by the State Department — would meet one of the Trump administration’s conditions before President Trump would meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The three citizens— Kim Dong-chul, Kim Sang-duk and Kim Hak-song — were freed from a labor camp and given health care and ideological indoctrination in Pyongyang, according to a report in the Financial Times.
The detainees — who remain in North Korea but would be handed over prior to or during the summit — had been accused of espionage or “hostile acts.”
Washington and Pyongyang are known to be in talks over their possible repatriation.
“We heard it through our sources in North Korea late last month,” Choi Sung-ryong, the activist, told the Financial Times.
“We believe that Mr. Trump can take them back on the day of the US-North Korea summit or he can send an envoy to take them back to the US before the summit.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pressed Kim about the detainees during the pair’s secret sitdown last month.
In June, Otto Warmbier, an American college student who was arrested and held prisoner in North Korea, died just days after being returned to his family in the US while in a coma.
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