- The three American prisoners released by North Korea have reached Alaska, where their plane has stopped to refuel.
- The men released a statement expressing their “deep appreciation” to President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for “bringing us home.”
- The three US citizens were released just 57 minutes before Pompeo’s flight left Pyongyang.
The three American prisoners released by North Korea have thanked President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for “bringing us home.”
The State Department released a statement from Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song, and Tony Kim after they were taken to meet Pompeo’s plane just one hour before it left Pyongyang,
“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,” they said.
“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.”
After meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Pompeo crossed his fingers when asked by US reporters whether the three men would be released from the hotel they had recently been transferred to. They eventually left custody at 7.45 p.m and were in the air 57 minutes later, according to Associated Press.
Their plane re-fueled at Japan’s Yokota Air Base, but according to Reuters the plane has now stopped in Alaska. The reason for the stopover appears to be another re-fueling.
KCNA, North Korea’s state-run media outlet, reported that Kim had “accepted an official suggestion of the U.S. president for the release of Americans who have been detained in the DPRK for their anti-DPRK hostilities,” using an acronym for North Korea’s official name.
The men’s families were informed of their release after Pompeo called Trump once his plane had cleared North Korean air space.
“Though we’re not quite back home yet, I welcomed them back,” Pompeo told Associated Press. “They were happy to be with us on this plane to be sure,” he said.