The three Americans who were held captive in North Korea released a statement Wednesday evening thanking the U.S. government, President Donald Trump, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for helping bring them home.
Earlier in the morning, Trump announced on Twitter that the former detainees–Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-song, and Kim Sang Dukz (also known as Tony Kim)–were with Pompeo safely in the air and that they appeared to be in good health.
"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," Trump wrote. "They seem to be in good health."
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
The State Department released a statement from the three former U.S. captives in North Korea.
"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."
Pompeo and the three U.S. citizens are scheduled to land at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland at 2:00 a.m. on Thursday, according to Trump's tweet and multiple reports.
The release of the three U.S. citizens comes as Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un plan to meet for a historic meeting in future weeks. Trump announced last week that he and Kim have agreed to a time and place for a meeting, but that he wasn't ready to announce it yet.
"We're having very substantive talks with North Korea," Trump said before he departed for Andrews Air Force Base on Friday. "I think you're going to be seeing very, very good things. And also the trip is being scheduled. We now have a date. And we have a location. We'll be announcing it soon."
After months of increasing tensions between the United States and North Korea, Pompeo made a surprise visit Easter weekend to North Korea where he had a successful meeting with with Kim to prepare for the upcoming summit between the North Korean leader and Trump.