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Thanks to Trump, 3 Detained Americans Have Been Released from North Korea
12 May 2018, 11:27 | Simon Arnold
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the South’s President Moon Jae-in meet on April 27
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States is prepared to work with North Korea to achieve prosperity if it takes bold action to quickly denuclearize.
The three men flew to Washington after their release to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was dispatched to Pyongyang on Tuesday in the hope that Kim would agree to free the detainees.
The remarks signaled how upbeat the Trump administration has become about the possibility that the Trump-Kim meeting will result in a secure commitment from the reclusive regime to give up its nuclear weapons program, even though Kim so far hasn't committed to anything that his father and predecessor didn't promise - and renege on - in the past.
The secretary of state addressed concerns that the USA and North Korea have different objectives in mind when considering denuclearization, prompting doubts that the Kim regime will actually be willing to give up the weapons it has already built.
But American officials have said Kim has signaled a willingness to move toward denuclearization amid a softening of relations between the us and North Korea in recent weeks.
Korea watchers have cautioned that North Korea may have something different in mind than the US when it says it's willing to go down a path of denuclearization.
Japan's prime minister on Friday warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that Japan will not provide major economic assistance unless the North resolves the issue of Japanese citizens it abducted decades ago.
She said the USA troop presence in the South for the past 65 years has played a "crucial role for deterrence", peace and stability on the Korean peninsula. "I think there's a complete agreement about what the ultimate objectives are", he said.
Any deal will also "require a robust verification program", Pompeo said, although it's hard to underscore how difficult that process would be. "It is extremely important for North Korea to normalize diplomatic relations with Japan to walk along the right track as part of global society, while accepting its requirements".
But Pompeo said he believes he's reached an understanding with Kim about what's on the table for negotiation.
And Pompeo said the United States would remain on board to help develop the North's economy, which has been devastated by its own mismanagement and crippling worldwide sanctions. A key part of North Korean propaganda is that the USA invaded the country at the start of the Korean War in 1950 - one reason the country needs nuclear weapons, to fend off that American aggression. "For decades, we have been adversaries".
"We wish these Americans and their families the best, as they reconnect after a very hard time apart", Pompeo said. Pence also spoke Wednesday with the parents of Otto Warmbier, the American college student who had been detained in North Korea for trying to steal a propaganda poster from a hotel.
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