The three Americans released from North Korea on Wednesday were only freed about an hour before they boarded a plane with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, bound for the United States.
Pompeo was in Pyongyang for just 12 hours, which included a 90-minute meeting with leader Kim Jong Un, and he didn't know if the detainees would be released until a North Korean official came to his hotel and let him know Kim had granted amnesties, a senior U.S. official told The Associated Press.
The men — Korean-Americans Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song, and Tony Kim — were picked up by Carl Risch, assistant secretary of state for consular affairs, and a doctor, and appear to be in good health, AP reports. President Trump was notified of their release as soon as Pompeo's plane cleared North Korean airspace. In 2016, Kim Dong Chul was convicted of espionage, and sentenced to 10 years in prison with hard labor. Tony Kim and Kim Hak Song, both of whom taught at a university in Pyongyang, had been detained for a year but apparently were never tried. Catherine Garcia