North Korea is reportedly expected to send 3 American detainees back to the US with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who made his second official trip to the country in a month

Twitter/@PressSecThen-CIA director Mike Pompeo greets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a meeting in April.
  • A South Korean presidential official said North Korea is expected to imminently release three detained US citizens.
  • The announcement comes shortly after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo travelled to North Korea to finalise the upcoming summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korea is reportedly expected to imminently release three detained US citizens, following Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s unannounced trip to Pyongyang, according to a South Korean official.

The release of the prisoners was meant as a goodwill gesture ahead of the highly anticipated summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the official told the South Korean news agency Yonhap News.

In addition to bringing home the prisoners, Pompeo is expected to finalise the details of a forthcoming meeting between Trump and Kim, which is expected to take place sometime in late May or early June.

“We expect him to bring the date, time and the captives,” the official reportedly said.

Pompeo reportedly left Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Monday, with two reporters who were prohibited from reporting on their trip until after Trump made the announcement of the visit on Tuesday. The reporters were given about four hours of notice before the trip, according to the Associated Press.

“We have been asking for the release of these detainees for – this administration for 17 months,” Pompeo said on Tuesday, prior to his arrival in North Korea. “We’ll talk about it again today. I think it’d be a great gesture if they would choose to do so.”

Pompeo’s trip comes amid earlier rumours that the three detainees would soon be freed. Trump, who announced that the plans for his summit with Kim had been finalised, said “stay tuned” for developments on the release of the American detainees.

The three Korean American detainees, Kim Dong-chul, Kim Hak-song, and Kim Sang-duk, are the last US citizens held captive by the regime. Kim Dong-chul, who has been held captive the longest after his arrest in 2015, ran a trading and hotel-services company in North Korea when he was convicted on accusations of espionage.

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