SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) — This week North Korea appeared to release three U.S. prisoners.
The reports come ahead of an impending meeting between Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.
“Look, we’ve seen dramatic steps,” said Representative Chris Stewart. “If you told me three months ago we’d be seeing this, I would have said, ‘I wouldn’t believe it,’ if you told me this a year ago, I would have said, ‘you’ve lost your mind.'”
Reports indicate the men have been relocated from a labor camp to a hotel in order to receive medical treatment.
“We don’t know if that’s been confirmed, but again, positive implications,” said Rep. Stewart. “We hope we can bring them home very quickly.”
“We think that would be an incredible sign of good will and certainly a great statement for the North Koreans to make ahead of the summit and the discussions,” said White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders.
Congressman Stewart says the analysis is positive.
“This might be a generational moment where we actually can convince him to rid his government of nuclear weapons and join the western world in a real meaningful peace process,” said Rep. Stewart.
Congressman Stewart says this potential move comes down to three developments:
- Sanctions are hurting North Korea
- China is being honest when it comes to enforcing sanctions
- President Trump’s strong policy on nuclear weapons
“I think Kim Jong Un is actually worried about not only maintaining power, but actually worried for his life, worried about a war and conflict in the Peninsula, and I think it’s changed his way of thinking,” said Rep. Stewart.
Getting prisoners back on U.S. soil is a top priority for the Trump Administration.
“A week into this president’s term in office, he turned to our previous Secretary of State and said ‘Bring back Americans who are being held overseas,'” said State Department Spokeswoman, Heather Nauer.
Congressman Stewart says the Trump Administration won’t pay ransom.
President Trump has been adamant on that.
Stewart says the rewards for releasing the three men without ransom are there won’t be a threat of conflict, it’ll open doors, and it will probably relieve the sanctions.