Healthy hostages good sign, but things still tense before US/North Korea talks

Sergio Conner
May 10, 2018

US President Donald Trump today said that the time and venue for his summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong un has been decided and would be announced in three days.

"We have picked a time and place for the summit, I think it's going to be successful but who knows", he said.

Trump said on Twitter that Pompeo was returning with "the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting".

Public records show the gunman, Matthew Riehl, threatened officials at the Wyoming law school he attended, threatened lawsuits against family members if they kept him from accessing firearms and was placed under a 72-hour mental health hold in 2014 at a Veterans Affairs psychiatric ward, none of which disqualified him from obtaining a weapon.

In this photo taken between May 7 and 8, 2018 released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping, (R) speaks to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Dalian in northeastern China's Liaoning Province. "Date & Place set", Trump wrote.

Trump said the three men are returning to the United States with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

During his visit, Pompeo discussed the agenda for a potential Trump-Kim Jong Un summit. Kim made a decision to grant amnesty to the three Americans at the "official suggestion" of the USA president, said North Korea's official news agency, KCNA.

The fate of the three Korean-Americans had been among a number of delicate issues in the approach to the first-ever meeting of USA and North Korean leaders.

Three Americans who had been long detained by the North Korean government, including a missionary and a pastor, have been freed and are en route back to the United States with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

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The president said the three former captives are scheduled to arrive at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland at 2am on Thursday.

In quitting the Iran nuclear deal, Trump pitted the U.S. against some of its closest allies and leaving the future of Tehran's nuclear ambitions in question.

While Kim Dong Chul has been in North Korean custody since before Trump was elected, the other two detainees were arrested last spring, after Trump's inauguration and as tensions between Washington and Pyongyang were beginning to ramp up.

Kim, who had not ventured out of his isolated country for any official meetings in his first six years in power, has held two rounds of talks with President Xi Jinping in little more than a month.

The men had boarded Pompeo's plane out of North Korea without assistance and then transferred in Japan to a separate aircraft with more extensive medical facilities.

Trump had said he was interested in holding the historic meeting on the heavily fortified border separating North and South Korea.

Kim was quoted by China's official news agency Xinhua as saying on Monday, "I hope to build mutual trust with the US through dialogue".

The family members of the two educators have said their loved ones are innocent.

Bolton himself said the US was looking for a "real deal" with Pyongyang that would include "the elimination of both the front and the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle; no uranium enrichment; no plutonium reprocessing".

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