We didn't pay for release of prisoners from North Korea

Sergio Conner
May 11, 2018

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". He set the stage for his announcement by hosting a 3 a.m., made-for-TV welcome home for three Americans held by Kim's government.

Imagine if during the negotiations with Iran, Obama had offered to pull USA troops out of the Middle East or to stop defending Israel?

A location and date have been set for the meeting, Trump said, but the details have not been released to the public yet.

Pompeo has described USA objectives for the summit as the immediate "permanent, verifiable irreversible dismantling of North Korea's weapons of mass destruction program". He said being back in the USA felt "like a dream". "There's got to be real preparation and strategy". "My proudest achievement will be - this is part of it - when we denuclearize that entire peninsula".

The meeting comes following a period of sabre-rattling between the two leaders that has developed into apparent better relations between both, as well as South Korea.

The secretary also appeared optimistic about the summit, telling Kim at a lunch in Pyongyang that he was "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".

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In the early months of his administration, Trump latched on to the belief that he could be the president to bring peace to the Middle East.

Singapore was favoured by USA officials because of its neutrality and infrastructure. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made clear the USA team won't accede to a phased lifting of the worldwide sanctions that they believe forced Kim to the table. But Singapore is a very valued U.S. partner and a remarkable city-state that punches many times above its weight. "We are not going to do this in small increments, where the world is essentially coerced into relieving economic pressure".

Later on Thursday, Singapore's foreign ministry confirmed it would host the Trump-Kim summit next month. They had argued Kim stood to gain the most from a meeting, and the USA first needed to make sure his promise to give up his weapons was genuine. From tax reform to worldwide trade to foreign policy, Trump has pursued a high-risk, high-reward approach that advisers say can help produce results on longstanding problems - and that critics warn could trigger risky repercussions all the way from a trade war to global conflict. "That's going to take time".

But those details are daunting, to say the least. The city-state, under pressure from the U.S. and a leaked UNreport, officially cut off trade relations with North Korea in 2017 to abide by global sanctions.

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.

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