Trump said he believed Kim wanted to bring North Korea "into the real world" and had high hopes for their planned meeting, which would be the first between a serving United States president and a North Korean leader. "We want to make progress with the North Korean regime, and that's something that we've talked to them very clearly about", Nauert added. But tensions have since eased, starting around the time of the North's participation in the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February. He had previously said the release of the men was part of working towards the denuclearisation of North Korea. "And I really think we have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful and if anybody would have said that five years ago, 10 years ago - even a year ago - you would have said that's not possible".
"It was understood that we would be able to get these three terrific people during the meeting and bring them home after the meeting", Trump said.
"So the relationship is good, and hopefully, for all of us, for the world, hopefully something very good is going to happen".
He made the announcement after a U.S. government aircraft touched down at Joint Base Andrews near Washington carrying the Americans who were released by North Korea in a move to clear the way for the bilateral summit. "The detainees - Tony Kim, Kim Hak Song and Kim Dong Chul - are presumably thankful that Pompeo didn't push back his trip to satisfy European diplomats". As they are reunited with their families, I ask that you give them the space and time to tell their stories when and if they are ready.
The men were taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where they were to be evaluated and receive medical treatment before being reunited with their families.
There will be "no way" to do this without relying on the experts in the government and at the State Department, believes Bell.
Pompeo, the most senior US official to meet with a North Korean leader since 2000, was making his second visit to the isolated nation in five weeks and less than two weeks after becoming top diplomat.
Department officials took great pains on the prisoners' release in North Korea, as well as on their flights to Japan and Alaska, to keep them sequestered not only from the two journalists traveling with Pompeo but also from staffers not immediately involved in their cases.
"Coincidentally, that's also what it says underneath Trump's official portrait", Colbert joked.
The arrival of the released prisoners in the dead of night created a made-for-TV moment for Trump, a former reality television host.
Abe also said such an opportunity could only follow successful talks between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump next month, which would raise expectations for an overall resolution of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.
It marks a stunning turnaround from past year, when the pair traded caustic barbs as Kim pushed on with missile launches and the North's biggest nuclear test to date.
Kim Dong-chul was a businessman, accused of taking a USB drive with nuclear secrets on it from a former North Korean soldier.
That meant answers to some important questions would have to wait, the Times reported.