The family of a man held captive and just freed from a North Korea prison is openly thanking God and President Trump for his release. Professor at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, Tony Kim, is no longer incarcerated in North Korea and flying home. Mr. Kim was accused of “committing criminal acts of hostility” and thrown into prison by Pyongyang authorities last year.
As of this writing, Mr. Kim, along with two other newly released American captives, is headed home on the same aircraft as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. All three appear to be in good health, according to Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. In a statement released on Twitter, the Kim family said:
“We are very grateful for the release of our husband and father, Tony Kim, and the other two American detainees. We want to thank all of those who have worked toward and contributed to his return home. We also want to thank the President for engaging directly with North Korea. Mostly we thank God for Tony’s safe return.”
This goodwill gesture comes in anticipation of a summit meeting between President Trump and NK Dictator Kim Jong Un. A date has been set for that meeting but has not been made public, though White House officials say an announcement is imminent.
Meanwhile, all interested parties seem pleased by this latest move by Pyongyang authorities. South Korean officials took advantage of the release to call for the freedom of six South Korean citizens still being held as prisoners by the rogue state.
Vice-President Mike Pence heralded the “tough-minded diplomacy” of the president as the pretext for the prisoner release. And there is reason to believe the vice-president may be correct in his assessment. After decades of instability and outright aggression, Mr. Trump’s hard-hitting stance on Kim in particular, and Pyongyang, in general, seems to have given Kim Jong Un pause and finally convince him to come to the negotiating table.
Peace Through Strength
It was first President Ronald Reagan who popularized the long-standing phrase “peace through strength” in the 1980s on which Mr. Trump has been able to capitalize. It’s unclear whether Kim felt threatened by the president’s twitter musings calling him “Rocketman” and the like, but considering sanctions and previous methods of dealing with Kim have come up empty, this seems a plausible scenario. To be sure, the president’s pressure on China to compel North Korea to initiate peaceful overtures in the region facilitated this positive development on the Korean peninsula as well.
It’s anyone’s guess what will happen at these high-level talks, but there is more than enough reason for optimism and hope.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Mr. Trump often remarked, “We’re to start winning again. We’re going to win so much at every level – we’re going to win so much you may even get tired of winning.” So, if indeed this is another win for the president on the horizon – and logic seems to indicate that this could be a “huge” victory – Mr. Trump will have kept his promise to the American people.
And that is something the family of Tony Kim and all Americans can and should celebrate.
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