Editor in chief:
CLARA MOSCHINI

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US plane with 3 Americans released from North Korea landed

Donald Trump welcomes them at the Andrews Air Force Base

Three US citizens released from North Korea arrived with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Andrews Military Base in Maryland. Just before three o'clock in the morning (local time), President Donald Trump and the First Lady went to meet them on the base track where the plane landed.

According to Trump, the date and place of the meeting with Kim Jong-un have already been established and will be announced in the next few days. Waiting for the important summit that could take place in Singapore by mid-June, the North Korean leader made a first step by releasing the three American citizens who had been detained in the camps of the regime for a long time. "This is a special moment, and for me this is something exciting, something very important for the country," said the US leader from the White House, waiting for the prisoners to touch American soil. According to sources from the US administration, the release of prisoners would have been a condition imposed by the United States in view of the meeting between the American president and the North Korean leader.

The release of the three prisoners represents a first symbolic achievement for the United States, considering the sad case of Otto Warmbier. The twenty-two year old US student who was arrested at Pyongyang airport in January 2016 had been accused of carrying out a "hostile act" against the regime: the theft of a propaganda poster. Imprisoned in North Korea from January 2016 to June 2017 and sentenced to 15 years of forced labour, the young man had slipped in coma presumably around April 2016 and was released by the North Korean government on June 13th 2017 to be brought back to the parents' house where he died five days later.

The three prisoners that landed before dawn in Maryland, imprisoned in North Korea for suspected "hostile acts" against the regime, are the protagonists of different stories, culminating in a single happy ending. Kim Dong-chul, a 60-year-old man born in South Korea but of American nationality was arrested in October 2015 after receiving a USB flash drive from a North Korean former soldier containing military information and some data about the nuclear. The 50-year-old Chinese Kim Hak-song was instead arrested while he was getting on a train to Dandong, China. After spending 10 years in the United States and graduating in California, the man returned to his home country and was then hired by the science and technology department of the University of Pyongyang (Pust). Even the fifty-year-old Kim Sang-duk, otherwise known as Tony Kim, was a professor at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology and was arrested at the Pyongyang's airport in April 2017 while trying to leave the country.

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