By Alex Jensen
SEOUL (AA) - U.S. President Donald Trump strongly suggested Thursday (Korean time) that North Korea is ready to release its American "hostages" after a South Korean activist earlier claimed the three detainees had been moved from a labor camp to a hotel.
"As everybody is aware, the past Administration has long been asking for three hostages to be released from a North Korean Labor camp, but to no avail. Stay tuned!" Trump stated via his Twitter social media account.
Kim Hak-song, Tony Kim and Kim Dong-chul were imprisoned at different times between 2015 and 2017.
Like other Americans before them, they faced dubious charges such as committing "hostile acts".
Washington has been able to secure the release of its citizens in the past but banned Americans from visiting the North after college student Otto Warmbier's death soon after being returned to the U.S. in a comatose state last year.
Since then, Trump has agreed to meet his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un for unprecedented talks, which are expected to take place in the coming weeks.
The trio of American detainees was reportedly transferred in early April from a labor camp to a hotel on the outskirts of the North Korean capital, according to activist Choi Sung-yong, who leads a group for relatives of South Korean abductees in the North.
Choi's claim, based on the account of a Pyongyang resident, was cited by local news agency Yonhap Wednesday.
Six South Koreans are also being held in North Korea, but their status remains uncertain despite an otherwise successful inter-Korean summit last Friday.