Seeing freed men 'one of the greatest joys' for Pence

Vice President Mike Pence spoke to ABC News' Jon Karl about if North Korea's Kim Jong Un can be believed when it comes to denuclearization, saying, "We all understand the record of the Kim regime."
5:12 | 05/10/18

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Transcript for Seeing freed men 'one of the greatest joys' for Pence
Our chief white house correspondent Jon Karl was on the tarmac and asked the president why he thinks Kim Jong-un decided to free the prisoners. Reporter: Mr. President, Mr. President, why do you think he decided to free these prisoners? I really think he wants to do something. I think he did this because I really think he wants to do something and bring the country into the real world. I really believe that, Jon, and I think that we're going to have a success. And Jon joins us now. What a different view of Kim Jong-un from the early days in the administration. Reporter: I thought it was remarkable. He was saying he really believes Kim Jong-un, somebody who not long ago he called a madman that he really believes not simply he can get a nuclear deal with him, but that he believes that he wants to fundamentally radically change North Korea. I pressed the vice president on that shortly after they got off the plane. You were out there. I was. With those prisoners just as they set foot on American soil again. How are they? I mean, how were they treated? Well, we'll see. They're at Walter reed hospital now getting medical attention they received all on the way back but to see them come out on the platform with president trump and the first lady, to see the joy on their faces, and to be able to greet them on the tarmac was really one of the greatest joys of my life. One of those three prisoners had spent three years. Right. In hard labor in North Korea. It's -- What's your sense of how he's doing and then to come out to this scene. It's heartbreaking to think of it. In fact, the secretary of state said when it refueled in Anchorage, one of the detainees asked to go outside the plane because he hadn't seen daylight in a very long time but as they came down the stairs, the joy on their faces, their appreciation for the people of the united States for their countrymen, for the president and, frankly, their gratitude was god was deeply moving. The first words that they said to us were we're thank you and thank you for your prayers. This comes after Mike Pompeo now secretary of state's second trip. Right. To North Korea. Second meeting what Kim Jong-un. Those photographs, the two of them are all smiles, it's almost -- I mean it's remarkable, surreal. Big enthusiastic handshake like they're old friends. How is that possible? You yourself have described Kim Jong-un as one of the most brutal dictators on the planet. Well -- How all the smiles now? Well, what you're seeing is diplomacy but diplomacy that has followed the United States of America speaking truth. It will no longer tolerate the path that North Korea's been on with regard to nuclear missiles. What's different today is that the United States has offered no concessions, nothing in exchange and yet we do see like this remarkable moment of three Americans coming home and the commitments being made by Kim Jong-un. We see signs that this may be different and it's all a result of president trump's leadership. The pdent called Kim Jong-un a madman. Was the president wrong back then or is he a madman? Well, we're seeing hopeful signs from Kim Jong-un that he is prepared to embrace complete denuclearization. That's his words, but president trump found a way to communicate in terms I believe that Kim Jong-un could finally hear. He could hear that this president was serious about achieving the objective that has eluded the world for a quarter of a century, that is, the full denuclearization of the full Korean peninsula. Reporter: While the president and vice president sound hopeful and talk about peace when it comes to North Korea, the tone regarding Iran is strikingly different. The president just yesterday warned that there would be severe consequences if Iran were to restart its nuclear program. I asked the vice president if that meant that the president is willing to go to war to stop Iran from getting a bomb. He didn't answer directly. What he said, though, George, was, the United States of America will not permit Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. It sure sounded like a threat of military action. And it sure does, and, Jon, it is striking both the vice president and the president seem to believe that Kim Jong-un might completely denuclearize? Reporter: That he might completely denuclearize, essentially, George, there might be a transformationalrical figure. It's an amazing turnaround in how they view that man. Thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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