The Latest: Family thanks Trump for release of Americans

Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, Korea Summit Press Pool via AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the release of three Americans from North Korea (all times local):

9:20 a.m.

The family of one of the Americans freed from North Korea is expressing gratitude for his release.

The family of 59-year-old Toby Kim is thanking “all of those who have worked toward and contributed to his return home.” In a statement, the family credited President Donald Trump for engaging directly with North Korea.

“Mostly, we thank God for Tony’s safe return,” the statement said. It added that the family appreciates “the support and prayers of friends and even strangers during this challenging year.”

The statement was forwarded to The Associated Press by Randall Brandt, a spokesman for the family, shortly after Trump announced Wednesday that three Americans were coming home.

The statement urged people to “continue to pray for the people of North Korea and for the release of all who are still being held.”

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8:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is on his way back from North Korea with three American detainees, saying they “seem to be in good health.”

Trump made the announcement on Twitter Wednesday, saying “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.”

Trump added that Pompeo had a “good meeting” with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump is planning a historic summit with the North Korean leader.

In another Tweet, Trump said Pompeo and the detainees will be landing at Andrews Air Force Base at 2 a.m. Thursday. He says “I will be there to greet them. Very exciting!”

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1:52 a.m.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in North Korea to finalize plans for a historic summit between President Donald Trump and the North’s leader, Kim Jong Un.

U.S. officials say Pompeo will also be pressing North Korea for the release of three detained American citizens, whose imminent release Trump has been hinting at.

The trip is Pompeo’s second to North Korea this year. It had not been publicly disclosed when he flew out of Washington under cover of darkness late Monday aboard an Air Force 757.

Trump announced the mission Tuesday afternoon as he laid out the case for withdrawing from a landmark nuclear deal with Iran, another bitter U.S. adversary.

When the flight arrived Wednesday morning in Pyongyang, North Korean officials were on hand to greet Pompeo.

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