President Trump announced Thursday that he will meet North Korea’s Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore. His statement came after three Americans were released from more than a year in captivity and returned to the US.
The three were greeted early Thursday morning by President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Pence, and his wife, Karen Pence. What do we know about the men? How is their story relevant to us today?
What we know about the men
Kim Hak Song was apparently arrested as he was preparing to leave North Korea on May 6, 2017. He had been working at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) for several weeks. The Korean Central News Agency reported his arrest for “hostile acts” but offered no further details.
Tony Kim was also a teacher at PUST. The university’s chancellor stated that Kim was involved in extracurricular activities such as volunteering at an orphanage.
PUST is North Korea’s first private university. It is operated mostly by evangelical Christian schools and chiefly employs Christian staff. However, PUST representatives have said that the arrests of Tony Kim and Kim Hak Song were “not connected in any way” with the university’s work.
Kim Dong Chul was arrested in October 2015 on charges of espionage and other undisclosed crimes. He delivered a public confession and apology in which he said he had been spying on behalf of “South Korean conservative elements.”
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