Trump hints of imminent news on Americans detained in North Korea

by Antonio Miles May 4, 2018, 10:48
Trump hints of imminent news on Americans detained in North Korea

In a meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday, Kim reaffirmed that a strong relationship with China was "a firm strategy" for the North, according to a Chinese foreign ministry statement. We follow the developments here.

However, Seoul wants the troops to stay because US forces in South Korea play the role of a mediator in military confrontations between neighboring superpowers like China and Japan, another presidential official told reporters on condition of anonymity earlier on Wednesday.

The Times report earlier Friday cited unidentified officials who said that reduced troop levels weren't meant to be a bargaining chip in Trump's talks with Kim.

Washington is also is in the middle of tough talks with Seoul over how to share the cost of maintaining some 28,500 USA servicemembers in South Korea as the agreement expires at the end of the year.

Mr Trump has said the United States is "fighting very diligently" to win their freedom.

Kim Dong Chul has been in North Korean custody since 2015.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, suggested on Thursday afternoon that Trump was including Otto Warmbier among the three hostages the president had referred to in his Twitter post.

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North Korea has moved three American prisoners from a labour camp to a hotel ahead of the planned summit with the US, a South Korean activist said.

Last week's summit talks between the leaders of the two Koreans had brought about an opportunity for a political resolution, Wang added. But they acknowledged that a peace treaty between the two Koreas could diminish the need for the 23,500 US soldiers stationed on the peninsula. "We are working to see United States citizens who are detained in North Korea come home as soon as possible", she said.

The exact date and location has yet to be fixed for the meeting between Trump and Kim, who lobbed personal insults and lambasted each other a year ago over North Korea's nuclear arms ambitions.

A fourth American detainee, Otto Warmbier, died in June 2017 - just days after he was repatriated to the USA with severe brain damage.

The South and North Korean leaders met at the dividing line between the two countries on April 26 and agreed to work on a peace deal and complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

USA Today writes, "A month before his trial, he supposedly apologized for trying to steal military secrets for South Koreans".

Kim's move to re-insert China as a major player in the process has been seen as a sign that the North's traditional stance essentially remains.


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