President Donald Trump welcomed three American detainees who were released from North Korea Thursday morning ahead of his summit with the country’s leader Kim Jong Un.
The president said Kim released the detainees in an effort to make North Korea welcome on the world state.
“I really think he wants to do something,” Trump said, according to White House pool notes. “I think he did this because I really think he wants to do something and bring that country into the real world. I really believe that.”
Trump predicted his summit will be a success.
“It’s never been taken this far. There’s never been a relationship like this and were starting from here,” he said.
Trump tweeted a video of him meeting with the three detainees on Air Force One after they arrived at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington early Thursday morning.
The three are Christian missionary Kim Hak-song, who had been detained since May 2017; Pyongyang University of Science and Technology employee Tony Kim, who had been detained since April 2017; and pastor Kim Dong-chul, who had been detained since 2015.
On behalf of the American people, WELCOME HOME! pic.twitter.com/hISaCI95CB
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2018
Trump’s newly minted Secretary of State Mike Pompeosecured the release of the Americans in North Korea in his second visit to North Korea. Trump and Kim are set to meet next month.
Trump also said he called the family of Otto Warmbier, an American who was released by North Korea last year, who died shortly after returning to the United States.
“I want to pay my warmest respects to the parents of Otto Warmbier, who was a great young man who who really suffered,” he said. “They are spectacular people and I just want to pay my respects.”
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