Trump says US-North Korea summit will not be at demilitarized zone
May 10, 2018, 11:18
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held their historic meeting at Panmunjom on April 27th.
The Korean-Americans are heading home with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who met with Kim for 90 minutes - the second such meeting in little more than a month.
Trump said Pompeo and his "guests" will be arriving at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland at 2 a.m. ET, presumably Thursday, where he will greet them.
"It'll be quite a scene", predicted Trump, saying their return was "very exciting" because "it represents something very important to this country".
By late Wednesday, several media outlets reported that Singapore would be the likely summit site.
He did not mention that two of the Americans had been detained after he became President.
"We reached the common recognition that the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, (and) the permanent establishment of peace and development of the intra-Korean relations are crucial", he said in a statement after the trilateral talks. On Wednesday, he said, "We have a chance that something really great for the world and great for North Korea" could be achieved. Kim chose to grant amnesty to the three Americans at the "official suggestion" of the US president, said North Korea's official news agency, KCNA.
Aboard the plane leaving North Korea, Pompeo said he was "thrilled to have them back".
"I am pleased to inform you that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the air and on his way back from North Korea with the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting".
The three men are Korean-American missionary Kim Dong-chul, detained in 2015; Kim Sang-duk, also known as Tony Kim, who spent a month teaching at the foreign-funded Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) before he was arrested in 2017; and Kim Hak-song, who also taught at PUST and was detained past year.
"At the meeting, an in-depth discussion was made on the practical matters for holding the DPRK-US summit and its procedure and ways".
Pompeo told the small contingent of reporters traveling with him that the detainees appear to be in good health, or at least as healthy as can be considering the circumstances surrounding their detention.
East Asian powers on Wednesday threw their weight behind breakneck diplomacy to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons, setting aside their differences on the process to endorse an intra-Korean deal.
A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Singapore has emerged as the likeliest location for the planned summit after Trump ruled out holding it at the heavily fortified demilitarised zone between North and South Korea.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Wednesday afternoon that "the maximum pressure campaign has worked", adding that in addition to the president's efforts "some of that success is due to our allies and partners", especially the leaders of China, Japan and South Korea.
The family of Tony Kim specifically thanked Trump for working to secure the Americans' release.
Three Americans held in a North Korean prison are set to be released, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Thursday.
The White House has often brought up their cases when discussing North Korea issues.
This is the first time that the North Korean leader officially spoke of the meeting with Trump, which has been scheduled for the end of May or the beginning of June and will be the first meeting in history between the heads of government of the two countries.
Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, the defense secretary described the USA forces in South Korea as a stabilizing presence for the entire region.
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