The three men released from North Korea into the custody of United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo put out a joint statement as they traveled home to the U.S.
Kim Hak Song, Kim Dong Cul, and Kim Sang-Duk said, according to Reuters:
We would like to express our deep appreciation to the United States government, President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, and the people of the United States for bringing us home. We thank God, and all our families and friends who prayed for us and for our return. God Bless America, the greatest nation in the world.
Pompeo gave a briefing to reporters traveling with him on the trip back to the U.S. from North Korea. Asked if there were any glitches during the 13-hour stay, Pompeo said, “It was a long day. But there were no moments where I felt like we were going to be anything but successful in the day.”
Asked about what may have ultimately led Kim to release the prisoners, Pompeo replied, “I think that Chairman Kim is trying to set good conditions for the summit, right. I think we’re – I think we are having good conversations, productive conversations. And so I think the work that President Trump has done to put us in this place made this possible.”
Another reporter asked Pompeo what he said to the prisoners upon receiving them. Pompeo said, “I welcomed them back. Although we’re not quite back home yet, I welcomed them back. They were happy to be with us on this plane, to be sure.”
“We have the three Americans on the plane, which is incredibly exciting. They seem to be in good health. The doctors are with them now, but all indications are at this point that their health is as good as could be given that they’ve been held,” said Pompeo. “They all walked up the stairs themselves, with their own power, so good enough to do that.” He added that they should soon have a more complete readout of the three men’s health. The plane that the group later met up with in Japan was expected to have “more robust medical capabilities” to attend to the three.
By Dave Boyer – The Washington Times – Friday, May 4, 2018
South Korean President Moon Jae-in will visit President Trump at the White House later this month ahead of Mr. Trump’s historic summit with North Korea’s leader on the pivotal issue of denuclearization.
The White House said Friday that Mr. Trump will host Mr. Moon on May 22, their third meeting since Mr. Trump took office.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Mr. Trump’s upcoming meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will be high on the agenda, following Mr. Moon’s first meeting with Mr. Kim on April 27.
“President Trump and President Moon will continue their close coordination on developments regarding the Korean Peninsula,” she said. “This third summit between the two leaders affirms the enduring strength of the United States–Republic of Korea alliance and the deep friendship between our two countries.”
GOYANG, South Korea (AP) — With a single step over a weathered, cracked slab of concrete, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made history Friday by crossing over the world’s most heavily armed border to greet South Korean President Moon Jae-in for talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons. Kim then invited Moon to cross briefly back into the north with him before they returned to the southern side.
Those small steps must be seen in the context of the last year – when the United States, its ally South Korea and the North seemed at times to be on the verge of nuclear war as the North unleashed a torrent of weapons tests – but also in light of the long, destructive history of the rival Koreas, who fought one of the 20th century’s bloodiest conflicts and even today occupy a divided peninsula that’s still technically in a state of war.
“I feel like I’m firing a flare at the starting line in the moment of (the two Koreas) writing a new history in North-South relations, peace and prosperity,” Kim told Moon as they sat at a table, which had been built so that exactly 2018 millimeters separated them, to begin their closed-door talks. Moon responded that there were high expectations that they produce an agreement that will be a “big gift to the entire Korean nation and every peace loving person in the world.”�
Beyond the carefully choreographed greeting, however, it’s still not clear whether the leaders can make any progress in talks on the nuclear issue, which has bedeviled U.S. and South Korean officials for decades. North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests last year likely put it on the threshold of becoming a legitimate nuclear power. North Korea claims it has already risen to that level.
Kim and Moon in their talks vowed to have more meetings, according to Moon’s spokesman, Yoon Young-chan, with Kim joking that he would make sure not to interrupt Moon’s sleep anymore, a reference to the North’s drumbeat of of early morning missile tests last year. Kim also referred to a South Korean island that North Korea attacked with artillery in 2010, killing four, saying the residents of Yeonpyeong Island who have been living in fear of North Korean artillery have high hopes the summit will help heal past scars. Kim said he’d visit Seoul’s presidential Blue House if invited.
Earlier, both leaders smiled broadly as Moon grasped Kim’s hand and led him along a blindingly red carpet into South Korean territory, where schoolchildren gave Kim flowers and an honor guard stood at attention for inspection, a military band playing traditional Korean folk songs beloved by both Koreas and the South Korean equivalent of “Hail to the Chief.” It’s the first time a North Korean leader has crossed over to the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone since the Korean War ended in 1953.
Kim’s news agency said that the leader would “open-heartedly” discuss with Moon “all the issues arising in improving inter-Korean relations and achieving peace, prosperity and reunification of the Korean peninsula” in a “historic” summit.
The greeting of the two leaders was planned to the last detail. Thousands of journalists were kept in a huge conference center well away from the summit, except for a small group of tightly controlled pool reporters at the border. Moon stood near the Koreas’ dividing line, moving forward the moment he glimpsed Kim, dressed in dark, Mao-style suit, appearing in front of a building on the northern side. They shook hands with the border line between them. Moon then invited Kim to cross into the South, and, after he did so, Kim grasped Moon’s hand and led him into the North and then back into the South. They took a ceremonial photo facing the North and then another photo facing the South.
( Fox News ) North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un said he’s willing to talk with President Trump about getting rid of North Korea’s nuclear weapons as part of a denuclearization across the Korean Peninsula, a Trump administration official confirmed to Fox News on Sunday.
The confirmation came ahead of a meeting between the two leaders, which officials have suggested would take place by May.
And while Trump tweeted on March 28 that he was looking forward to the meeting, saying, “There is a good chance that Kim Jong Un will do what is right for his people and for humanity,” many analysts have expressed skepticism about the secretive regime’s intentions
President Donald Trump has accepted North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s dramatic offer to meet, and he’ll do it by May, a South Korean official said Thursday evening.
South Korea’s national security adviser Chung Eui-yong informed U.S. press of the expected in-person conversation and said the goal of the unprecedented meeting between the two countries’ leaders is permanent denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Chung did not say where the meeting would take place.
A half hour after the foreign official announced the meeting steps from the West Wing, the White House confirmed Trump’s participation. But it did not second Chung’s claim that talks would be held within the next two months.
A statement from White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the place and time of the meeting was still to be determined.
‘President Trump greatly appreciates the nice words of the South Korean delegation and President Moon. He will accept the invitation to meet with Kim Jong Un at a place and time to be determined,’ Sanders said. ‘We look forward to the denuclearization of North Korea. In the meantime, all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain.’
( Daily Mail ) President Donald Trump fired off a warning tweet to North Korea Tuesday night, taunting leader Kim Jong Un who said in his New Year speech that Americans should be aware he has a ‘button’ for nuclear weapons.
Trump warned the hermit country: ‘North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un just stated that the ”Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!’
The threat came after an annual speech given by Kim, in which he cautioned: ‘The U.S. should know that the button for nuclear weapons is on my table.’
Kim warned America that it can ‘never start a war against me and our country’ and insisted his nukes are now a reality, not a threat.
Despite the ongoing war of words, Pyongyang this morning revealed it will reopen a hotline with South Korea to discuss attending the Winter Olympics.