President Donald Trump announced in a tweet this morning that the three Americans detained in North Korea were on their way back to the United States with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
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. They seem to be in good health. Also, good meeting with Kim Jong Un. Date & Place set.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 9, 2018
In a later tweet, Trump said the group would be land at Andrews Air Force Base at 2 a.m., presumably Thursday.
The three Americans, Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang Duk were all detained for several months. Kim Dong Chul was detained prior to Trump’s election, but Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang Duk were detained in April and May of 2017, just as tensions between the United States and North Korea were beginning to escalate.
Originally, U.S. officials said the release of the prisoners “must not be related or used to loosen the main issue of denuclearization.”
Last week, Trump tweeted: “As everybody is aware, the past Administration has long been asking for three detainees to be released from a North Korean Labor camp, but to no avail. Stay tuned!”
He did not clarify that two of the detainees were detained during his presidency.