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Trump and Pompeo get win

Three Americans detained in North Korea for more than a year are on their way back to the U.S. with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday in the latest sign of improving relations between the two longtime adversary nations.

Trump said on Twitter that Pompeo was "in the air" and was with "the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting." The president, who had been hinting about an imminent release, said he would greet them at Andrews Air Force Base at 2 a.m. Thursday.

The release of the detainees came as Pompeo visited North Korea on Wednesday to finalize plans for a historic summit between Trump and the North's leader, Kim Jong Un. Trump said on Twitter that there had been a "good meeting with Kim Jong Un," adding: "Date & Place set."

North Korea had accused Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song and Tony Kim, all Korean-Americans, of anti-state activities but their arrests were widely seen as politically motivated and had compounded the dire state of relations over the isolated nation's nuclear weapons.

The family of Tony Kim thanked "all those" who worked for his return and also credited Trump for engaging directly with North Korea. "Mostly we thank God for Tony's safe return," the family said in a statement, and they urged people to "continue to pray for the people of North Korea and for the release of all who are still being held."

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that Trump viewed the release "as a positive gesture of goodwill."

Their release capped a dramatic day of diplomacy in Pyongyang for Pompeo. After his 90-minute meeting with Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the central committee of North Korea's ruling party, he gave reporters a fingers-crossed sign as he returned to his hotel. But it was only after a North Korean emissary arrived a bit later that the release was confirmed.



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