Updated: March 4, 2021
President Trump, First Lady, Melania, and Vice President Pence early Thursday welcomed three Americans held captive for more than a year in North Korea.
The three Americans, who arrived the Joint Base Andrews outside Washington shortly before 3am, were given a hero’s welcome, with a large American flag suspended by two fire engine cranes on the tarmac. It was lit for everyone to see.
Kim Dong-chul, Tony Kim and Kim Hak-song, arrived shortly after a jet carrying Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed.
They had been released by North Korea in a goodwill gesture ahead of a planned meeting with President Trump.
As the three captives arrived, President Trump and Melania boarded the plane, while Pence, his wife, Karen, and Pompeo waited on the tarmac.
Trump, Melania and the three men later emerged from the plane, two of the men raising their arms in a sign of triumph.
Trump thanked Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, adding that “the fact we were able to get them out so soon was a tribute to a lot of things including a certain process that is taking place right now”.
“This is a special night for these three really great people,” he added, “and congratulations on being in this country.”
Speaking through an interpreter, Kim Dong Chul, who spoke through an interpreter told reporters that his release felt like a dream.
He said they were treated in “many different ways”.
“I had to do a lot of labor, but when I got sick, I was also treated by them,” he added.
The liberation of the the three men has landed President Trump a victory after he raised concerns on Tuesday following his decision to pull out of the Iranian nuclear deal.
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