The family of Tony Kim, who was among a trio of U.S. citizens held prisoner by North Korea before their release Wednesday, says they are grateful he is free and showed their gratitude to President Trump.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left North Korea with Kim, Kim Hak-song and Kim Dong-chul, who've been held for more than a year.
Their release precedes planned talks between Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Trump announced the Americans had been freed on Twitter.
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 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting. They seem to be in good health. Also, good meeting with Kim Jong Un. Date & Place set.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 9, 2018
"We are very grateful for the release of our husband and father, Tony Kim, and the other two American detainees," the family said. "We ask that you continue to pray for the people of North Korea and for the release of all who are still being held.
Tony Kim had taught at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology and was arrested for "hostile criminal acts" against the regime in April 2017. Hak-song had been doing research at the college and was detained a month later for the same alleged offense.
Dong-chul was accused of spying and arrested in 2015.
The three are the only known Americans detained by North Korean officials.
Former prisoner Otto Warmbier, a U.S. college student, was sentenced to hard labor and released last year. He arrived home in a coma and died shortly afterward. His family has sued the communist country, alleging their son was tortured and died as a result.