Trump arrives at air base to greet former North Korean detainees

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Earlier in the morning, Trump announced on Twitter that the former detainees-Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-song, and Kim Sang Dukz (also known as Tony Kim)-were with Pompeo safely in the air and that they appeared to be in good health. Typically, Swedish diplomats based in North Korea handle USA consular affairs.

The summit will be crucial as the U.S. leader tries to diffuse tensions between Washington and Kim Jong-un's brutal regime in Pyongyang.

"This is a special night for these three really great people", said Mr Trump.

"They are really three incredible people".

"Very exciting", the President exclaimed.

It also avoids any embarrassment for Kim, as North Korea's ageing jets limits the distance he can travel without stopping to refuel.

The fact that Trump was going to Andrews to welcome them home in person was nearly an afterthought to Pompeo, who, when briefing reporters on their release, noted it last of all.

The three arrived shortly after an official plane carrying Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - who negotiated the release - touched down.


North Korean state media said they were arrested either for subversion or "hostile acts" against the government.

Many other foreigners who admitted to crimes against North Korea at news conferences have said after their releases that their confessions were given involuntarily and under duress. "Date & Place set", Trump tweeted.

Trump is providing details for the first time about the historic meeting between a sitting American president and the leader of North Korea over denuclearisation. He was detained May 7, 2017, while teaching at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. Protection Secretary Jim Mattis has mentioned eradicating American forces should not be a part of any negotiations with North Korea.

Tony Kim and Kim Hak-song were arrested about a year ago and Kim Dong-chul in 2015. However, typically, the détente has been short lived.

The military hospital that received the three Americans released by North Korea says they will be reunited with their families once they have achieved what hospital officials call "an optimal period of decompression".

It is unclear whether they were formally convicted and sentenced.

Thursday's KCNA article represents a sharp reversal in language about the United States in both KCNA and the state newspaper Rodong Sinmun.

Pence also spoke Wednesday with the parents of Otto Warmbier, the American college student who had been detained in North Korea for trying to steal a propaganda poster from a hotel. "I really think he wants to do something and bring the country into the real world".


"We welcome the North Korea-U.S. summit to be held in Singapore on June 12".

"Given that diplomacy is often about momentum, the next likely step might be North Korea inviting global media to view the shutdown of the nuclear test site", Cha, who was once considered for the post of USA ambassador to Seoul, wrote in a blog post.

The president has hailed the thawing in relations as a diplomatic breakthrough and chalked it up to his hardline stand with Pyongyang. Pompeo, however, was actually on his way to North Korea to work on the release of the Americans held captive.

Trump thanked the Korean leader for their release.

A statement released by the freed detainees upon their arrival in the USA read in part: "We would like to express our deep appreciation to the United States government, President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, and the people of the United States for bringing us home".

The men returned after USA secretary of state Mike Pompeo was in Pyongyang to discuss Mr Trump's plans to meet Mr Kim.

Pompeo met with the North Korean leader for 90 minutes, flashing a fingers-crossed sign to reporters when asked about the detainees' fate, according to The Associated Press.

Trump thanked North Korean leader Kim for releasing the Americans and said he believes Kim wants to reach an agreement on denuclearization at their upcoming summit.


"They finally left custody at 7:45 p.m., and by 8:42 p.m. they were flying home".

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