President Donald Trump on Thursday welcomed three Americans freed from North Korea back to the United States soil.
Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-Song and Tony Kim arrived at Joint Base Andrews military airfield in Washington at about 7:42 a.m. Nigerian time on a U.S. military medical plane.
They arrived shortly after Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State who secured their release from North Korea on Wednesday, arrived on a separate plane.
The men were seized from 2015 to 2017 and accused of several offenses that they allegedly contravened North Korean laws and sentenced to several years’ imprisonment with hard labour. But they had all traveled on humanitarian missions.
Mr Trump announced their release in a Twitter update Wednesday, saying: “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. They seem to be in good health.”
The development comes as Mr Trump prepares to meet Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, in an ongoing effort to end the decades-old acrimony between North and South Korea. The venue of the historic meeting is currently still being weighed by Mr Trump, the American president said on Wednesday.