President of United States Donald Trump has announced that the three American Christians who were imprisoned in North Korea have been released. He said that he would personal greet them when they arrive. He wrote on Twitter that Secretary of State had gone to North Korea and is bringing the three of them back with himself.
“I am pleased to inform you that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the air and on his way back from North Korea with the three wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting. They seem to be in good health,” President wrote on Twitter this morning May 9, Wednesday. His follow-up tweet added “Secretary Pompeo and his ‘guests’ will be landing at Andrews Air Force Base at 2:00 A.M. in the morning. I will be there to greet them. Very exciting!”
President Trump added that his Secretary of State Pompeo had a “good meeting” with the North Korean leader. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to North Korea earlier this week and met with Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader. Pompeo was successfully able to secure the release of the three imprisoned American Christians who have been identified as Tony Kim, Kim Hak-song and Kim Dong-chul. “I appreciate Kim Jong Un allowing this to happen,” Trump said later on Wednesday.
These Christians were detained on several charges including their Christian faith and espionage. Kim Dong-chul was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment along with hard labor. He was arrested in 2015; Tony Kim was arrested in April last year and Hak-song was detained arrested in May 2017.
North Korea has been designated as the worst place for Christians to live in. North Korea has been consecutively appearing at top of the list of the countries which persecute Christians. Persecution watchdog group Open Doors USA, has listed North Korea as the “worst persecutor of Christians in the world”. The group said that more need to be done, yet this was a positive sign.
David Curry, President and CEO of Open Doors USA, stated “To keep progressing, this first gesture of goodwill must now be followed by further actions to address the long-running, systematic human rights abuses that still plague the people of North Korea. Building on this positive development, we must continue to advocate for the release of political and ideological prisoners among the estimated 250,000 North Koreans in Kim Jong Un’s prison system”.
“We must continue to call attention to the 50,000 Christians who have been detained in these interrogation centers, prison cells and work camps. And we must continue to work toward religious freedoms for the estimated 300,000 North Korean Christians who must practice their faith under threat of harassment, imprisonment and even death.”