North Korea’s release of three American detainees on Wednesday may have marked a diplomatic turning point ahead of its talks with the U.S., but Paul Bremer, who was U.S. administrator during the Iraq War, said President Donald Trump should not reward Pyongyang.
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“We don’t owe the North anything for this,” Bremer told Neil Cavuto during a FOX Business interview on Wednesday. “It’s like saying when a man stops beating his wife we should thank him. Well, that’s not right. He shouldn't have been beating his wife in the first place.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo returned with the newly released men, all of whom were reportedly in good condition and able to walk without assistance, after a surprise diplomatic mission. Two of the three Americans had been imprisoned during Trump’s presidency.
Pompeo arrived in the Hermit Kingdom on Tuesday to prepare for the upcoming summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un. The diplomat previously traveled to North Korea over Easter weekend, when he met with the leader.
“I am pleased to inform you that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the air and on his way back from North Korea with the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “They seem to be in good health. Also, good meeting with Kim Jong Un. Date & Place set.”
The president, Bremer said, needs to look at the hostages as a “clear reminder” of the brutality and lack of rights in North Korea. Since 2009, North Korea has detained more than 10 U.S. citizens, including Otto Warmbier, who died six days after returning to the U.S. following 17 months in custody.
“They imprison, torture and kill their own civilians,” Bremer said. “And, in this case, they basically took innocent Americans as hostage.”