North Korea released three American prisoners and handed them over to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday, clearing a major obstacle to an unprecedented summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“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,” the three said in a statement released by the State Department as their plane stopped over in Alaska.
“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.”
The release, praised by the White House as a “gesture of goodwill,” appeared to signal an effort by Kim to set a more favorable tone for the summit and followed his recent pledge to suspend missile tests and shut a nuclear bomb test site.