Trump welcomes three American detainees released from North Korean prison

(Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)U.S.President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen arrive to greet Americans formerly held hostage in North Korea, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., May 10, 2018.

President Donald Trump stayed up until the early hours of Thursday morning to greet three Americans who were released from a North Korean prison during the visit of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the communist country.

The former detainees — Kim Dong Chul, Kim Sang-duk and Kim Hak Song — were greeted by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump after their aircraft landed at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

According to CNS News, Trump arrived on Marine One shortly before the aircraft carrying Pompeo landed. The plane carrying the three Americans arrived shortly after the arrival of the secretary of state.

Kim Dong-chul, a Korean-American missionary, was detained in North Korea in 2015 and was later sentenced to 10 years' hard labor.

Kim Sang-duk, also known as Tony Kim, and Kim Hak Song both worked as teachers at the foreign-funded Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) before they were detained last year.

CBN News reported that the three men had already expressed their gratitude to the U.S. government when their plane stopped over in Alaska.

"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 three men said in a statement released by the State Department, according to CBN News.

"We thank God, and all our families and friends who prayed for us and for our return. God Bless America, the greatest nation in the world," they added.

The former detainees will undergo medical evaluation at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, a White House spokeswoman said.

Trump reportedly thanked North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for releasing the three men. "We're starting off on a new footing. This is a wonderful thing that he released the folks early. I think we have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful," he said, according to CBN News.

"My proudest achievement will be - this is part of it - when we denuclearize that entire peninsula," he added.

Before ending the meeting with the three men, the president paid his respects to Otto Warmbier, the American college student who died shortly after he was released by North Korea.

Trump noted that the date and location for his meeting with Kim Jong Un has already been set. A source has disclosed to CBN News that the historic summit is likely to take place in Singapore in a few weeks.

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