|[Published: Wednesday May 09 2018]
Pompeo in North Korea ahead of Trump-Kim talks
WASHINGTON 9 May (ANA) - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is making a surprise visit to North Korea, with speculation growing that he will bring home three jailed Americans.
Mr Pompeo's visit is intended to lay the groundwork for a historic summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump.
He told reporters he was hoping to finalise plans for talks, which are likely to focus on denuclearisation.
But the release of the detainees is a central issue for the Americans.
A South Korean presidential official told news agency Yonhap that Pyongyang was expected to release the US citizens as a "goodwill gesture".
Mr Pompeo said he hoped North Korea would "do the right thing" and release three Americans imprisoned in the country.
"We've been asking for the release of these detainees for 17 months," he said.
One of the detainees was jailed in 2015, the other two have been in prison for just over a year. Their convictions have been widely condemned as political and an abuse of human rights.
North Korea has historically used its foreign prisoners as leverage in its diplomatic dealings.
The last American to be freed - Otto Warmbier, who was jailed for stealing a hotel sign - was released last year but was fatally ill, and died shortly after returning home. The cause of death remains unexplained.(ANA)
FA/ANA/9 May 2018--------