President Trump announced on May 9 via his Twitter account that the three American Christian prisoners held captive for at least a year have been released and are on their way back to American soil.
Without incident, the Americans arrived in the early hours of the morning of May 10, and were promptly greeted by President Trump and the First Lady.
“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,” Trump wrote.
The President and Mrs. Trump were at Joint Base Andrews, near Washington D.C. early Thursday morning to greet the three Americans as they returned home after being held captive in North Korea. Tony Kim, Kim Dong Chul, and Kim Hak Song were released on Tuesday to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and promptly boarded their plane and arrived in the U.S. in less than 24 hours after their release.
Pompeo and the three men traveled in two separate planes, with the State Secretary arriving just 30 minutes before the plane carrying the three Americans. Upon arrival to the U.S. military base in Maryland, they were greeted with a sprawling U.S. flag displayed on the tarmac. The president and First Lady boarded the plane to greet the men, then appeared at the stairway of the plane with the men to wave to the crowd and proceed to the tarmac together. The men were smiling, waving to the crowd and were obviously happy to be home.
Pompeo was there to greet the men when they exited the stairs, exchanged a hug with one of the former prisoners. President Trump spoke to the crowd and commented that “his proudest achievement will be — this is a part of it — but my proudest achievement will be when we denuclearize North Korea.”
Trump said he “very much appreciated” that Kim Jong Un had released the prisoners before their scheduled meeting, and was very excited that the men were home.
“This is a special night for these three really great people,” he said. “Congratulations on being in this country.”
The day after his release while standing next to Trump, Kim Dong Chul said via his translator, that being back home was “like a dream, and we’re very, very happy.” When questioned about how he was treated while being held captive in North Korean custody, he only said, “in many different ways.”
The three former men appeared to be healthy as they made their way down the tarmac, but were transported directly to Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington for complete health check-ups.
“The current priority is to allow the returnees decompression time as they transition. Decompression consists of establishing their routine, providing them with rest, and attending to their nutritional and medical needs,” said authorities from Walter Reed Hospital. “We want them to be able to process and integrate their experiences in a healthy manner and this will be facilitated by trained professionals.”
Before their return to America, the three men released a statement that thanked President Trump, the U.S. government, and the American people for bringing them home. “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 said in a statement released by the State Department.
The release of the three American prisoners comes as President Trump awaits his scheduled meeting with Kim Jong-un later this month. Trump indicated that their release was a good faith act on behalf of Kim Jong Un, and is proof that his diplomatic efforts with North Korea are working.
By negotiating the prisoners’ release, President Trump’s administration is claiming a foreign policy victory, and he has confidence heading into the planned summit with Kim Jong Un.
“We are starting off on a new footing — I really think we have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful. A lot of very good things have happened,” Trump said. “I really think he wants to do something and bring the country into the real world,” he added, referring to Kim. “It’s never been taken this far, there has never been a relationship like this. I really think a lot of progress has been made.”
This historic and unprecedented meeting of the two heads of state is being watched by the world, and has Trump nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
~ 1776 Christian