North Korea has reportedly released three US prisoners from labor camp ahead of the landmark meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.
Kim Dong-chul, Kim Sang-duk and Kim Hak-song were arrested in the dictatorship last year, accused of 'hostile acts', and have been held in the country's notorious labor camps ever since.
Now it appears that the three men, all US citizens, have been released and taken for medical treatment in Pyongyang. It's not clear whether they will be returned to the US.
Their abduction by North Korea was set to be an issue of debate during the talks between Trump and Kim, along with the death of Otto Warmbier, 22, who was returned to the US in a coma with severe brain damage and evidence of torture after he allegedly stole a propaganda poster.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo even raised the issue to Kim during a secret visit to North Korea in Easter.iPhone transfer software
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Wednesday there was no immediate confirmation of any change in the detainees' status.
But Trump administration officials have pressed for their release as a show of goodwill by North Korea before the unprecedented U.S.-North Korea summit expected in late May or early June.
Earlier on Wednesday, South Korean media reports quoted a South Korean activist as saying North Korea had relocated the three Americans from a labor camp to a hotel on the outskirts of Pyongyang.
Choi Soung-yong, the activist, told Reuters that Kim