Thursday, 24 May, 2018

Donald Trump hails Kim Jong Un as North Korea prisoners arrive home

In Leery South Korea American Missionary Couple Works for Reunification of North and South Donald Trump hails Kim Jong Un as North Korea prisoners arrive home
Gerardo Duncan | 11 May, 2018, 04:30

The announcement sets the stage for tough talks that will test recent diplomatic efforts at ending the crisis over the North's nuclear weapons program.

The three Korean-Americans - Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song and Tony Kim - will be greeted by President Donald Trump when they arrive early Thursday at the Washington-area Joint Base Andrews.

Trump made the announced on Thursday, hours after suggesting that the release of three Americans held in the North heralded a potential breakthrough toward denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

"We're all rooting for diplomacy to succeed on the Korean Peninsula but we can not sacrifice the safety of American citizens around the world in exchange for an illusory veneer of peace", he said. The date and venue for the meeting has always been the subject of speculation.

CBS News had previously reported Singapore and Mongolia were the top two sites under consideration.

Their freedom is a bonus from the warming of relations between the longtime adversaries.

Trump and Kim could discuss the issue of a peace treaty as part of negotiations to dismantle the nuclear program.

When Trump and Kim sit down in the sweltering Southeast Asian city state, the two relatively new and untested leaders face a nuclear puzzle that has eluded seasoned diplomats for decades.

"This is a great honor".

He thanked Kim for allowing the detainees to return with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after his visit to Pyongyang.

"If we can pull it off, if this president can pull it off, listen, I'll be the first person to say congratulations".

With the former detainees by his side on a dark air base tarmac, Trump said during a made-for-TV ceremony that it was a "great honor" to welcome the men back to the USA, but he added that "the true honor is going to be if we have a victory in getting rid of nuclear weapons". "Those words are important, but we'll see what they mean".

Tony Kim, a Korean-American professor, was arrested last April after a month-long assignment as a guest lecturer at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST). Still, Kim's agreement to travel so far from the safety of Pyongyang - the farthest he's ever been as leader - could be seen as a concession by North Korea, should it happen.

The country is now believed to be on the cusp of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that could deliver a nuclear warhead to the continental United States.

Vice President Mike Pence is revealing new details about the conditions of the three Americans freed by North Korea, saying one was evidently kept from the daylight. The Trump administration has stated that North Korea should make "a complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantling" of its nuclear weapons.

Earlier in the week, the US President had ruled out meeting Mr Kim at the demilitarised zone which separates North and South Korea. In this case, clearly, it is an effort by the North Koreans to try to gain the - I don't know what they want exactly, but to gain the trust, to gain the confidence of the USA leader.

"We're granting amnesty to the three detained Americans", the North Korean emissary told Pompeo at Pyongyang's Koryo Hotel, according to the senior USA official who requested anonymity to discuss the exchange.

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