President Trump has hinted at the imminent release of three US Christian prisoners from North Korean labor camps. Following the huge amount of credit being bestowed upon the Trump administration for the dramatic denuclearization of North Korea, a prisoner release would be another huge victory for the President.
“As everybody is aware, the past Administration has long been asking for three hostages to be released from a North Korean Labor camp, but to no avail. Stay tuned,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. Just a day later, one of Trump’s closest aides, Rudy Giuliani, suggested to Fox & Friends that the North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un was “impressed enough” with Trump that he would “be releasing three prisoners today.”
The prisoners set for release are Kim Dong-chul, Kim Hak-song, and Tony Kim – all have been imprisoned for sharing their Christian faith, which is still illegal in the oppressive communist nation. Despite this incredible hopeful news, there is still no word on the momentous release.
As everybody is aware, the past Administration has long been asking for three hostages to be released from a North Korean Labor camp, but to no avail. Stay tuned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2018
“We can’t confirm the validity of any of the reports currently out about their release,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said later on Thursday, as reported by the Christian Post. “but we certainly would see this as a sign of goodwill if North Korea were to release the three Americans ahead of discussions between President Trump and Kim Jong Un.”
State Department spokesman Heather Nauert similarly added: “We’ve certainly been following their cases for quite some time [but] we can’t confirm the validity of those reports at this point. We want to see our American citizens brought home. We want them to come home as soon as possible.”
Some sources have suggested that the prisoners could be released as early as Saturday.
“I am aware that North Korea and the United States have agreed to free the three Korean Americans — Kim Hak-song, Tony Kim and Kim Dong-chul — through Panmunjom tomorrow,” said a source close the Yonhap News Agency, who asked not to be named, as reported by the Daily Mail.
Some believe Trump gave further indication of the imminent release when, at a White House prayer event Thursday, he said: “Our country is doing very well. You’ll see some very good announcements very shortly.”
The three are Korean-American missionary were all involved at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST). Bizarrely, despite North Korea being home to most heavily persecuted Christian on the planet, PUST is mainly funded by evangelical Christians.
As Faithwire previously reported, the university was founded by Dr. James Chin-Kyung Kim, 78, a Korean-American Christian entrepreneur who was invited by the North Korean government to create a university based on a similar school he opened in China. Kim raised millions of dollars on his own to fund the project — money that reportedly came from many faithful donors.
The faculty, who are mostly evangelical Christians, volunteer their time or are funded by faith-based charities to teach at the college, instructing pupils — mostly the kids of well-to-do and elite individuals inside the country — in subjects such as capitalism (a topic that, as you can imagine, isn’t all that popular with the North Korean government).
A historic summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is due to take place in late May or early June. A specific date and location for the meeting has yet to be confirmed.