Early on Thursday, three men who had been detained in North Korea for a year were brought back to the United States by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. These American citizens were welcome by President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at a military base in Maryland.
Family members and friends of the men, Tony Kim, Kim Hak Song, and Kim Dong Chul, who were held in detention in North Korea spoke to reporters about their thankfulness. They said they are grateful to President Trump and they thank God. Thursday that they are thankful for their release and grateful to have them back in the U.S.
Tony Kim, who also goes by the Korean name Kim Sang-duk, was detained in April 2017. Kim, who taught accounting at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology was detained at the Pyongyang airport and accused of committing “criminal acts of hostility aimed to overturn” North Korea.
In a statement, Kim’s family expressed their joy, according to the Associated Press.
“Mostly, we thank God for Tony’s safe return,” the statement said. “We ask that you continue to pray for the people of North Korea and for the release of all who are still being held.”
Kim Hak Song, who was detained in May 2017, worked in agricultural development at an experimental farm run by the same college. He was detained after being accused of unspecified “hostile acts” against North Korea. In addition to teaching agriculture, he was also a pastor who studied at World Mission University in Los Angeles and was affiliated with the Oriental Mission Church in LA's Koreatown.
"The church, which referred to him as Kim Hak-sung, said in a statement that he was devoted to ministry and was detained by North Korean authorities after he was caught trying to return to his home in Dandong, China," reported AP.
The church had been praying for the last year that Hak-sung “could safely return to his family.”
Pyongyang University of Science and Technology claimed the men's detention wasn’t related to their work at the school.
The third man, Kim Dong Chul, a South Korean-born U.S. citizen, was sentenced in April 2016 to 10 years in prison with hard labor after being convicted of espionage.
"Before his sentencing, he spoke publicly and apologized for slandering North Korea’s leadership, joining a smear campaign against the North’s human rights situation and collecting and passing confidential information to South Korea," noted AP, who added that many other foreigners who admitted to crimes against North Korea have said they confessed under duress.
The White House released amazing photos of the Trumps greeting these three men. It was clear how much they cared for their health and celebrated their return.
Praise God for President Trump's intervention and that these men can safely return to their lives. In other news, a nurse has been charged in the death of a prominent Trump official's father