Freed detainees head home for big welcome, featuring Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — Freed after more than a year in prison, three Americans flew homeward from North Korea late Tuesday toward a big middle-of-the-night celebration featuring President Donald Trump — the latest sign of improving relations between longtime adversaries in the buildup to a historic summit between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

Trump promised “quite a scene” at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington for the detainees, who were released as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited North Korea on Wednesday to finalize plans for the summit. Singapore was the likely site, late this month or in early June, for Trump’s most ambitious foreign policy effort yet.

Shortly after they touched down on American soil in Alaska — for a refueling stop Wednesday afternoon– the State Department released a statement from the freed men.

“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.”

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