Trump welcomes home 3 U.S. detainees freed by North Korea

In a made-for-TV ceremony in the dead of night, President Donald Trump on Thursday welcomed home three Americans freed by North Korea and declared their release a sign of promise toward his goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

With the former detainees by his side on a dark air base tarmac, Trump called it a “great honor” to welcome the men to the U.S., but said “the true honor is going to be if we have a victory in getting rid of nuclear weapons.”

Pence, Pompeo, first lady Melania Trump and other top officials joined Trump in the highly scripted celebration in the wee hours of Thursday morning at Joint Base Andrews near Washington. The men — Kim Dong-chul, Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim — had been released Wednesday amid a warming of relations between the longtime adversaries. (AP)

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<p>President Donald Trump waves after speaking to the media as he meets the three Americans released from detention in North Korea upon their arrival at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 10, 2018. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters) </p>
Trump welcomes home 3 U.S. detainees freed by North Korea

President Donald Trump waves after speaking to the media as he meets the three Americans released from detention in North Korea upon their arrival at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 10, 2018. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

<p>President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, greet three American men released after being imprisoned in North Korea at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 9, 2018. (Photo: Michael Candelori/REX/Shutterstock) </p>
Trump welcomes home 3 U.S. detainees freed by North Korea

President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, greet three American men released after being imprisoned in North Korea at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 9, 2018. (Photo: Michael Candelori/REX/Shutterstock)

<p>President Donald Trump speaks as he stands with Tony Kim, second left, Kim Dong Chul, center right, and Kim Hak Song, right, three Americans detained in North Korea for more than a year, after they arrived at Andrews Air Force Base in Md., Thursday, May 10, 2018. Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, second from right, listen. (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP) </p>
Trump welcomes home 3 U.S. detainees freed by North Korea

President Donald Trump speaks as he stands with Tony Kim, second left, Kim Dong Chul, center right, and Kim Hak Song, right, three Americans detained in North Korea for more than a year, after they arrived at Andrews Air Force Base in Md., Thursday, May 10, 2018. Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, second from right, listen. (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

<p>President Donald Trump, center, speaks to members of the media as U.S. First Lady Melania Trump, left, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, second left, Second Lady Karen Pence, fourth left, and Mike Pompeo, secretary of state, third right, stand with American citizens, released from detention in North Korea, Kim Sang-dok, also known as Tony Kim, third left, Kim Dong-chul, fourth right, and Kim Hak-song, second right, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images) </p>
Trump welcomes home 3 U.S. detainees freed by North Korea

President Donald Trump, center, speaks to members of the media as U.S. First Lady Melania Trump, left, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, second left, Second Lady Karen Pence, fourth left, and Mike Pompeo, secretary of state, third right, stand with American citizens, released from detention in North Korea, Kim Sang-dok, also known as Tony Kim, third left, Kim Dong-chul, fourth right, and Kim Hak-song, second right, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

<p>President Donald Trump, fifth right, speaks to members of the media as First Lady Melania Trump, left, Vice President Mike Pence, second left, Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, third right, stand with American citizens, released from detention in North Korea, Kim Sang-dok, also known as Tony Kim, sixth right, Kim Dong-chul, fourth right, and Kim Hak-song, second right, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images) </p>
Trump welcomes home 3 U.S. detainees freed by North Korea

President Donald Trump, fifth right, speaks to members of the media as First Lady Melania Trump, left, Vice President Mike Pence, second left, Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, third right, stand with American citizens, released from detention in North Korea, Kim Sang-dok, also known as Tony Kim, sixth right, Kim Dong-chul, fourth right, and Kim Hak-song, second right, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

<p>President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with U.S. detainee Tony Kim (C) as US Vice President Mike Pence (back L) and Melania Trump (L) look on, upon arrival after three detainees were freed by North Korea, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on May 10, 2018.(Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Trump welcomes home 3 U.S. detainees freed by North Korea

President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with U.S. detainee Tony Kim (C) as US Vice President Mike Pence (back L) and Melania Trump (L) look on, upon arrival after three detainees were freed by North Korea, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on May 10, 2018.(Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>President Donald Trump walks with Tony Kim, fourth right, Kim Hak-song, third right, Kim Dong- chul, right, the three Americans detained in North Korea for more than a year as they arrive at Andrews Air Force Base in Md., Thursday, May 10, 2018. Walking with Trump is Vice President Mike Pence, left, and first lady Melania Trump. (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP) </p>
Trump welcomes home 3 U.S. detainees freed by North Korea

President Donald Trump walks with Tony Kim, fourth right, Kim Hak-song, third right, Kim Dong- chul, right, the three Americans detained in North Korea for more than a year as they arrive at Andrews Air Force Base in Md., Thursday, May 10, 2018. Walking with Trump is Vice President Mike Pence, left, and first lady Melania Trump. (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

<p>President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump meet the three Americans released from detention in North Korea upon their arrival at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 10, 2018. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters) </p>
Trump welcomes home 3 U.S. detainees freed by North Korea

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump meet the three Americans released from detention in North Korea upon their arrival at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 10, 2018. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

<p>President Donald Trump (L) looks on as U.S. detainees Tony Kim (center L) receives a hug from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo upon their return after they were freed by North Korea, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on May 10, 2018. (Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Trump welcomes home 3 U.S. detainees freed by North Korea

President Donald Trump (L) looks on as U.S. detainees Tony Kim (center L) receives a hug from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo upon their return after they were freed by North Korea, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on May 10, 2018. (Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>President Donald Trump (2nd R) and his wife Melania Trump (R) walk down the stairs with U.S. detainees Tony Kim (2nd L), Kim Dong-chul (bottom L) and Kim Hak-song (C) upon their return after they were freed by North Korea, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on May 10, 2018. (Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Trump welcomes home 3 U.S. detainees freed by North Korea

President Donald Trump (2nd R) and his wife Melania Trump (R) walk down the stairs with U.S. detainees Tony Kim (2nd L), Kim Dong-chul (bottom L) and Kim Hak-song (C) upon their return after they were freed by North Korea, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on May 10, 2018. (Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>One of the Americans formerly held hostage in North Korea gestures next to President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, upon their arrival at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 10, 2018. (Photo: Jim Bourg/Reuters) </p>
Trump welcomes home 3 U.S. detainees freed by North Korea

One of the Americans formerly held hostage in North Korea gestures next to President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, upon their arrival at Joint Base Andrews, Md., May 10, 2018. (Photo: Jim Bourg/Reuters)

<p>President Donald Trump (L) applauds as US detainee Kim Dong-chul (2nd R) gestures upon his return with Kim Hak-song (C) and Tony Kim (behind) after they were freed by North Korea, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on May 10, 2018. (Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Trump welcomes home 3 U.S. detainees freed by North Korea

President Donald Trump (L) applauds as US detainee Kim Dong-chul (2nd R) gestures upon his return with Kim Hak-song (C) and Tony Kim (behind) after they were freed by North Korea, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on May 10, 2018. (Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>The U.S. Air Force plane carrying US detainees Kim Dong-chul, Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim arrives after the three men were released by North Korea, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on May 10, 2018. (Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Trump welcomes home 3 U.S. detainees freed by North Korea

The U.S. Air Force plane carrying US detainees Kim Dong-chul, Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim arrives after the three men were released by North Korea, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on May 10, 2018. (Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>An American flag hangs from firetruck ladders prior to the arrival of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and three American citizens, released from detention in North Korea, at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images) </p>
Trump welcomes home 3 U.S. detainees freed by North Korea

An American flag hangs from firetruck ladders prior to the arrival of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and three American citizens, released from detention in North Korea, at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

<p>President Donald Trump, left, gives a thumbs-up as he walks with First Lady Melania Trump on the South Lawn of the White House after landing on Marine One following an event at Joint Base Andrews in Washington on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Photo: Yuri Gripas/Bloomberg via Getty Images) </p>
Trump welcomes home 3 U.S. detainees freed by North Korea

President Donald Trump, left, gives a thumbs-up as he walks with First Lady Melania Trump on the South Lawn of the White House after landing on Marine One following an event at Joint Base Andrews in Washington on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Photo: Yuri Gripas/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

<p>A U.S. government plane, left, lands at Yokota U.S. Airbase on the outskirts of Tokyo, Wednesday, May 9, 2018. 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. (Photo: Eugene Hoshiko/AP) </p>
Trump welcomes home 3 U.S. detainees freed by North Korea

A U.S. government plane, left, lands at Yokota U.S. Airbase on the outskirts of Tokyo, Wednesday, May 9, 2018. 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. (Photo: Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

<p>South Koreans watch on a screen reporting the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visit to North Korea at the Seoul Railway Station on May 9, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images) </p>
Trump welcomes home 3 U.S. detainees freed by North Korea

South Koreans watch on a screen reporting the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visit to North Korea at the Seoul Railway Station on May 9, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

<p>Secretary of State Mike Pompeo exits his plane on arrival in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Wednesday, May 9, 2018. (Photo: Matthew Lee, Pool/AP) </p>
Trump welcomes home 3 U.S. detainees freed by North Korea

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo exits his plane on arrival in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Wednesday, May 9, 2018. (Photo: Matthew Lee, Pool/AP)

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