Thursday, 22 August, 2019

Trump set to meet with North Korean leader in Singapore

Mikhail Klimentyev  Press Service of the Russian President  TASS Mikhail Klimentyev Press Service of the Russian President TASS
Patty Aguilar | 10 May, 2018, 23:45

Tony Kim and Kim Hak-song were arrested about a year ago and Kim Dong-chul in 2015.

Pompeo traveled to North Korea Wednesday to finalize plans for a historic summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"We're seeing hopeful signs from Kim Jong Un that he is prepared to embrace complete denuclearization - that's his words", he said.

Until now, the only American released by North Korea during Trump's presidency was Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old university student who returned to the United States in a coma last summer after 17 months of captivity.

Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, said in a statement Wednesday that the president "appreciates leader Kim Jong Un's action to release these American citizens, and views this as a positive gesture of goodwill".

Kim Dong Chul, a Korean-American missionary formerly of Fairfax, Virginia, and thought to be about 62, was sentenced in March 2016 to 10 years of hard labor for subversion.

"We want to thank Kim Jong Un", Trump said after emerging from the plane, which he and his wife had boarded to greet the men.

"We are starting off on a new footing - I really think we have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful. It's never been taken this far, there's never been a relationship like this". "This is a special night for these really great people". "We're going to announce it within three days". But the President saw the release of the three Americans as yet another reason for optimism as he prepares for the summit.

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Senior Michaela Owen carded a 76 (+4), but played her final 14 holes at even par after a pair of tough holes early in her round. Last year, they each had their best individual finishes at regionals, as Cho tied for fifth and Kim tied for eighth.

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Daniel Russel, until recently the most senior US diplomat for Asia, said the prisoner release would reduce tensions, but was not a sign that peace was at hand.

But former spy chief Kim Yong Chul, director of North Korea's United Front Department, said in a toast to Pompeo over lunch in Pyongyang: "We have perfected our nuclear capability".

Trump had demurred on how likely their return was, telling reporters on Tuesday "we'll all soon be finding out". "Now we are hopeful that we can work together to resolve this conflict, take away threats to the world and make your country have all the opportunities your people so richly deserve".

In another Tweet, Mr Trump said Mr Pompeo and the detainees will be landing at Andrews Air Force Base at 2am on Thursday (7am BST).

The Americans' release came during Pompeo's second visit to North Korea this year. The interview was conducted in the presence of North Korean officials, so CNN could not determine whether Kim's comments were made under duress. More than a dozen abductees still remain missing, according to the Japanese government.

Additional reporting from Reuters and AFP. The meeting is expected to happen later this month or in early June.

Asked if this was his proudest achievement, Trump said that would be "when we denuclearise that entire peninsula". The two sides agreed to meet again to finalize details of the summit, a USA official said.

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