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Monday, May 14, 2018

Trump, Kim and the prisoners released


US President Donald Trump received the three Americans released by North Korea the day before as a gesture of goodwill on Thursday, according to the White House, amid negotiations between the leaders of both countries who plan to meet for the first time. In what can be considered as a weird atmosphere, the administrations of the United States and North Korea will seat at the table, and one is left with the wonder to what extent the war of absurd nicknames ended. Thus far, the appointment of Pompeo and the “sweetness” of Mr. Kim would seem points in favor of Trump.

Media flooded with the news. Kim Hak-song, Kim Dong-chul and Tony Kim flew on the same plane as Secretary of State and former director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, to Andrews military air base. The “Rocket Man” released three American prisoners. It was a "special night for these great people," said the man who threatened to destroy North Korea at the UN, who along with his wife, Melania Trump, entered the aircraft to leave after a few minutes with the three men. The president thanked Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, for releasing them, since "sincerely, we did not think it would happen before the meeting."

When asked if he believed that the release of these men was his greatest feat, the president replied that this will come "when we denuclearize the entire peninsula." Trump said he hoped to one day travel to North Korea and that, in his opinion, Kim wanted to bring his country into the "real world." The three men released appeared to be in good health and got on the plane back to the US. by their own means, said the White House. The only American prisoner who had been released by North Korea under the presidency of Donald Trump was university student Otto Warmbier, who returned to the United States in a coma and died days later. Two of the men released this Wednesday were imprisoned in 2017, after Trump became president.

This is what we know so far of the men released, according to what international media have published: Kim Hak-song is a citizen of Korean origin who was born in China very close to the border with North Korea and who emigrated to the USA in the 90s, according to South Korean media. He worked as a professor at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) and was imprisoned on suspicion of "hostile acts" on May 6, 2017. Kim Sang-Duk, also known as Tony Kim, is 55 years old and had been involved in humanitarian work in North Korea, South Korean media reported.

Like Kim Hak-song, he was also at Yanbian University, in northern China, although he was a professor there. Two weeks before the arrest of Kim Hak-Song, Tony Kim was arrested for espionage. Kim Dong-chul, a US citizen born in South Korea, is a pastor of about 60 years. Before his trial, he was presented at a press conference organized by the government, where he apparently confessed to stealing military secrets in complicity with South Korea, an accusation rejected by Seoul.

The world knew via Trump that Pompeo traveled to Pyongyang to prepare the historic meeting between him and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, which is expected to occur in the coming weeks in a place yet to be specified. In his message on the social network, the US president added that the meeting between Pompeo and Kim was "good" and remarked that the place and the date have already been defined. This historic meeting will be the first between the leaders of the United States and North Korea after almost 70 years of confrontation initiated with the Korean War (1950-1953) and more than a quarter of a century of failed negotiations.

Although the act of releasing the prisoners has been taken as a gesture of good faith, the true outcome of this “peaceful” meeting is yet to be seen. The president of the United States has gained a popularity of being unfit to rule and know what is best for its country in a national and international level. After he undid the Iran deal and put insane effort in destroying Obama's legacy, many are concerned for the final fate of these negotiations.