Family of US detainee freed from North Korea: 'Mostly we thank God'

Family members of Tony Kim, one of three Americans reportedly released from North Korea after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit, are thanking God and President Trump for his release, over one year after he was detained.

Trump tweeted about the release of the three Americans early Wednesday morning, saying that they “seem to be in good health” and he “will be there to greet them” when they land at Andrews Air Force Base.


“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,” the family wrote in a statement Wednesday morning. “Mostly we thank God for Tony’s safe return.”

Tony Kim, also known as Kim Sang Duk, 59, was detained at Pyongyang’s airport in April 2017 and accused of unspecified “hostile acts” against the regime. He taught business accounting at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology.

“We appreciate all of the support and prayers of friends and even strangers during this challenging year. You are dear to our hearts. We ask that you continue to pray for the people of North Korea and for the release of all who are still being held,” the Kim family wrote. “Thank you.”

The Kim family launched a social media campaign, “Free USA 3,” ahead of the Winter Olympic Games to help bring them home. Tony’s son, Sol, made several videos online and spoke out about his father.

“My family and I miss my dad,” Sol Kim said in April, one year after his father was detained. “My 91-year-old grandfather would like to see his son again as well.”

Upon returning to the U.S., Kim’s arrival means he will be able to meet his first grandchild in person for the first time and also see his 91-year-old father.

He returns with two other Americans that were being detained, Kim Hak Song and Kim Dong Chul.

Kim Hak Song, an ethnic Korean born in China, was detained in May 2017 for "hostile acts." He worked in agricultural development at an experimental farm run by the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, which was founded in 2010 with donations from Christian groups.

Kim Dong Chul, a South Korea-born U.S. citizen and former Virginia resident, was sentenced in April 2016 to 10 years in prison with hard labor after being convicted of espionage. He was accused of running a trade and hotel service company in Rason, a special economic zone on North Korea's border with Russia.

American detainee Otto Warmbier died in June 2017 – just days after he was brought back to the U.S. with severe brain damage. He was arrested in January 2016 and accused of stealing a propaganda poster and was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.