Americans released from North Korea taking it "one day at a time," says State Dept. official

Americans freed from North Korea
Americans freed from North Korea 02:37

WASHINGTON -- President Trump said on Thursday he will be meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un on June 12. The announcement came after the early morning return of three Americans held captive for more than a year by the North. They were released as a goodwill gesture in the run up to the summit.

Mr. Trump announced the summit on Twitter, saying "we will both try to make it a very special moment for world peace!"

The tweet came hours after Mr. Trump led a dramatic overnight welcome ceremony for the three Americans released by North Korea -- Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song, and Tony Kim. After greeting them privately on board a government plane, the president and first lady escorted them in front of cameras.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to North Korea to secure the prisoner's release. State Department official Brian Hook was with him and among the first Americans to see the three men.

"One of them walked up to me, shook my hand. I said, 'Welcome home.' He said, 'God bless America,'" Hook said.

VP Pence on freed N. Korea prisoners, Iran 05:53

Administration officials consider the release an encouraging signal ahead of next month's summit.

"Kim Jong Un has said publicly and in discussions is that he is prepared, he is prepared to negotiate to achieve complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," Vice President Mike Pence told "Face the Nation" moderator Margaret Brennan on "CBS This Morning." "Those words are important, but we'll see what they mean."

The freed prisoners are in good health, and U.S. officials said they did not find any significant physical or psychiatric concerns.

"They're trying to return to a normal life," Hook said. "That's going to take time. And right now we're just taking it one day at a time."

The men are currently at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for what's called "decompression time." Doctors want them to establish a routine, make sure they rest and eat well, and Hook told us they are back in touch with their families.