Trump to meet North Korea's Kim in Singapore

Trump to meet North Korea's Kim in Singapore

The three American citizens freed from North Korea are welcomed back to the President Donald Trump and Melania, Vice President Mike Pence and Karen, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at Joint Base Andrews, May 10, 2018.

For North Korea, key issues may be the lifting of economic sanctions and the presence of 30,000 USA military personnel in South Korea.

The emancipation of Tony Kim, Kim Hak-song and Kim Dong-chul was secured less than an hour before Pompeo was due to depart.

"I think you probably broke the all-time-in-history television rating for three o'clock in the morning", Trump joked to cameras.

On the heels of North Korea's launch of three Americans, Vice President Mike Pence touted Donald Trump's management within the negotiation course of.

President Trump, who was accompanied by his wife Melania, told waiting reporters it was "nice" of the North Korean leader to release the three men ahead of their planned summit. "We thank God, and all our families and friends who prayed for us and for our return".

"I think we have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful", Trump said.

Tony Kim, who also goes by the Korean name Kim Sang-duk, was detained in April 2017, at the Pyongyang airport and was accused of committing "criminal acts of hostility aimed to overturn" North Korea.

The fact that Trump was going to Andrews to welcome them home in person was nearly an afterthought to Pompeo, who, when briefing reporters on their release, noted it last of all.

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Trump said he wanted to pay his "warmest respects" to the family of Otto Warmbier, the American who was released by the North Koreans in a vegetative state, only to die days later. It has close diplomatic and defense ties with the US and yet is also familiar ground for North Korea, with which it established diplomatic relations in 1975.

Pence also tells CBS that he spoke Wednesday with the family of Otto Warmbier, an American detainee who died a year ago shortly after his release from North Korean captivity.

United States media said Trump scored a diplomatic victory with North Korea releasing the three imprisoned American citizens.

The North Korean official then advised that the releases would follow a "very brief ceremony" - which he described as more like a legal process.

Trump had previously suggested that the demilitarised zone between the two Koreas - the site of a recent summit between Kim and Moon - could also be an appropriate venue for his meeting with the North's leader.Other possible sites reportedly included Mongolia and Switzerland.

When asked how it feels to be home, one of the detainees said through a translator "it's like a dream and we're very, very happy". He reportedly ran a trade and hotel service company in Rason, a special economic zone on North Korea's border with Russian Federation.

The three men arrived in the the middle of the night.

Trump heads into the summit hoping to gain an agreement from Kim to give up his nuclear weapons and end North Korea's ballistic missile program.

A North Korean official came to the hotel shortly after to inform Pompeo that Kim had granted amnesties to the three and that they would be released at 7 p.m. local time, according to a senior USA official present for the exchange. But, "it doesn't mean he's won over North Korea".