Pence: One of the detainees said he hadn't seen daylight 'in a very long time'

Vice President Pence recalled on Thursday how one of the Americans released from prison in North Korea had asked to walk outside during a refueling stop on the way back from Pyongyang, because he "hadn't seen daylight in a very long time."

"It’s heartbreaking to think of it," Pence said in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"In fact, the secretary of State told me that when the plane refueled in Anchorage, one of the detainees asked to go outside the plane, because he hadn’t seen daylight in a very long time."

The vice president's comments came just after Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump: ‘Nothing bad can happen' from meeting with foreign leaders The US must not turn its back on refugees Taiwan is key to US power in Pacific MORE returned to the U.S. from a brief trip to Pyongyang, where he secured the release of three U.S. citizens who had been detained in North Korea. 

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President Trump greeted the men at Joint Base Andrews near Washington, D.C. early Thursday morning. 

"I just want to say this is a special night for these three really great people," Trump said. "And congratulations on being in this country."

The release of the prisoners came ahead of a planned summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un – an encounter that will mark the first meeting between a sitting U.S. president and North Korean leader.

Trump announced on Thursday that that meeting would take place on June 12 in Singapore.

The release of the three U.S. citizens — Kim Dong-chul, Tony Kim and Kim Hak-song — differed significantly from the release of another American prisoner, Otto Warmbier, who was returned to the U.S. last year in a coma. He died days after arriving in his hometown of Cincinnati.