Report: Release of U.S. Citizens Held in North Korea ‘Imminent’

Three American nationals who have been held in North Korean custody for more than a year may be about to be released, CNN reports. North Korean authorities made the decision to release the three men two months ago, and North Korea’s foreign minister is the one who pitched the idea while visiting Sweden in March, an unidentified official told CNN. One of the prisoners, Kim Dong Chul, has been in North Korean detention on espionage charges since 2015, while the two others—Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang Duk—were arrested last spring for allegedly carrying out “hostile acts.” The men are now slated for an “imminent” release ahead of President Trump’s planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to the report. U.S. officials reportedly earlier told Pyongyang the prisoners’ release “must not be related or used to loosen the main issue of denuclearization.” Trump appeared to prematurely take credit for the men’s release late Wednesday, hinting on Twitter that he has been able to do what “the past administration has long been asking for” but “to no avail.”