Release of Americans imprisoned in North Korea as a goodwill gesture: White House

Vastavam web: The White House said on Thursday it would welcome the release of three Americans imprisoned in North Korea as a goodwill gesture before a planned summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but that it could not confirm reports that they are about to be freed.Expectations have grown that North Korea would soon release the three ahead of the unprecedented summit in the coming weeks.

CNN, citing an unnamed source, said on Thursday the prisoners’ release was imminent, adding the groundwork for the move was laid two months ago when North Korea’s foreign minister travelled to Sweden and proposed the idea.“We can’t confirm the validity of any of the reports currently out about their release, 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,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.

Trump did not mention Korea or the prisoners when he spoke at a prayer event at the White House on Thursday. “Our country is doing very well. You’ll see some very good announcements very shortly,” he said.

On Wednesday, Trump said on Twitter, “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!”The U.S. government is looking into reports that the Americans had recently been relocated from a labour camp to a hotel near Pyongyang, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.