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Trump Personally Welcomes 3 Americans Freed by North Korea; Thanks Kim

The American detainees were freed while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on a visit to the North Korean capital Pyongyang to finalise the details of President Donald Trump's planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

PTI

Updated:May 10, 2018, 8:35 PM IST
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Trump Personally Welcomes 3 Americans Freed by North Korea; Thanks Kim
File image of Kim Jong-un (left) and Donald Trump (File photo: Reuters)
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Washington: President Donald Trump on Thursday thanked Kim Jong-un for releasing three American detainees as he personally welcomed them back to the US, a development seen as a diplomatic win for him ahead of his planned summit with the North Korean leader.

The Americans, Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang Duk, also known as Tony Kim, were freed on Wednesday by North Korea while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on a visit to the North Korean capital Pyongyang to finalise the details of the summit. The trio had been jailed for anti-state activities and placed in North Korean labour camps.

Trump and his wife Melania entered the plane outfitted with medical facilities after it landed in the early hours of Thursday and a few minutes later emerged with the three Americans of South Korean origin to wave to the media."We're starting off on a new footing. This is a wonderful thing that he released the folks early," Trump said.

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence were also on hand to welcome the three men home.

Speaking to the media on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews Air Force Base in a Maryland suburb of Washington DC, Kim Dong Chul said his release felt "like a dream. "We are very, very happy," he said.

The three former detainees earlier issued a joint statement thanking Trump for their release."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 trio said.

President Trump told reporters that it was "nice" of the North Korean leader to release the three men ahead of their planned summit."Frankly we didn't think this was going to happen . It's a very important thing to all of us to be able to get these three great people out," he said.
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