WHITE HOUSE U.S. President Donald Trump has announced that his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will take place in Singapore on June 12.
"We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!," Trump said on Twitter Thursday, hours after he personally welcomed home three Americans freed by North Korea.
During the event at Joint Base Andrews, in the state of Maryland, 25 kilometers from the White House, the president, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, boarded a U.S. Air Force C-40 Jet to briefly speak with the three men who had been imprisoned in North Korea.
Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also greeted the three Korean-Americans when they came off the military plane.
After handshakes the president, standing alongside the three men, expressed thanks to North Korean leader Kim for releasing them, stating that I really think he wants to do something to bring North Korea into the real world.
Trump has said the goal for his upcoming talks with Kim is for North Korea to agree to denuclearize.
Secretary of State Pompeo, who traveled to North Korea to secure the release of the detainees, said holding such a summit would have been more difficult had the Americans still been detained
A senior U.S. official present for the exchange of detainees in Pyongyang told journalists traveling with Pompeo that a North Korean official informed the secretary of state that Kim had granted amnesties to the three Americans.
In a joint statement released by the State Department late Wednesday, the three men expressed "deep appreciation to the United States government, President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, and the people of the United States" for their return.
Tony Kim and Kim Hak Song were teaching at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology when they were separately detained in 2017, accused of participating in anti-state activities and trying to overthrow the government.
The third detainee, Kim Dong Chul, was arrested in Rason on the northeast tip of North Korea in October 2015 and sentenced to 10 years in prison with hard labor the following year after being convicted of espionage.
Kim Dong Chul, speaking in Korean, when asked by a reporter how the Americans fared in North Korean custody, replied somewhat cryptically we were treated in many different ways, adding that however, when he became ill in captivity he was given medical treatment.
Vice President Pence said the U.S. did not make any concessions to North Korea in order to secure the release of the Americans. "Sending these three Americans home before any concessions have been offered I think is a testament to the president's policy of peace through strength," Pence told ABC News.
The three returnees, whose families were not present for their arrival at the base in Maryland, are to undergo evaluations and medical treatment at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Wednesday afternoon that the maximum pressure campaign has worked, adding that in addition to the president's efforts some of that success is due to our allies and partners, especially the leaders of China, Japan and South Korea.
Source: Voice of America