Mattis: US Forces Withdrawal from Korean Peninsula Won't be Discussed with North

Aaron Brown
May 10, 2018

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday ruled out the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Korean peninsula as a venue for his upcoming summit with Kim Jong-un.

Trump promised "quite a scene" at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington for the detainees, who were released as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited North Korea on Wednesday to finalize plans for the summit.

On Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump announced that the three USA prisoners that were being held in North Korea had been freed and were coming back to the United States with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He wrote on Twitter that Secretary of State had gone to North Korea and is bringing the three of them back with himself.

In this May 3, 2018 photo, people watch a TV news report on screen, showing portraits of three Americans, Kim Dong Chul, left, Tony Kim and Kim Hak Song, right, detained in the North Korea.

Three US citizens are on their way home after being released from a North Korean prison less than an hour before secretary of state Mike Pompeo's official plane was about to take off.

The secretary said that Wednesday's talks with Kim had covered the proposed agenda for the summit-which is expected later this month or in early June-and that North Korea and the USA will coordinate in coming days to "set the conditions for a successful meeting between the two leaders".

Upon returning to the U.S., Kim's arrival means he will be able to meet his first grandchild in person for the first time and also see his 91-year-old father. With respect to the North, he added: "When I make promises, I keep them".

The three United States detainees released are Korean-American missionary Kim Dong-chul, Kim Sang-duk - also known as Tony Kim - and Kim Hak-song.

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Pompeo's trip, his second to North Korea this year, had not been publicly disclosed when he flew out of Washington late on Monday aboard an Air Force jetliner.

After months and even years of hardship, those released by North Korea said they found themselves boarding a US plane and being flown out of the country less than an hour after being told by their captors that they were going home.

The Kentucky Republican says he's hopeful that "by approaching our ongoing negotiations with clear eyes, we can build on this progress and pursue a verifiable agreement to dismantle North Korea's nuclear arms".

After having finalized the date and venue of the meet, Pompeo is expected to return to the US with three American citizens being held in the North.

Bae and Fowle, devout Christians, said their time in North Korea deepened their faith and helped get them through.

Relatively little is known about the men, all Korean-Americans, and the circumstances in which they ended up in North Korean custody.

"Emotionally and psychologically, they (the North Koreans) were trying to wear me out", said Bae.

For better or for worse, Trump now owns the future of Iran's nuclear development, to the extent he's unable to strike a better deal.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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