'Start Here': North Korea detainees back on US soil

Saul Bowman
May 11, 2018

The three Americans free of North Korea are welcomed again to the U.S.by President Donald Trump and Melania, Vice President Mike Pence and Karen, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at Joint Base Andrews, Could 10, 2018.

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

"I believe it's a direct results of President Trump's management on the world stage", Pence mentioned.

North Korea has offered to close its nuclear test site this month - and invited USA experts to verify the move.Other less dramatic but notable signs of rapprochement have emerged nearly daily, including North Korea moving its clocks forward by 30 minutes early Saturday to match time with the South.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Pyongyang twice to meet Kim in recent months, in a precursor to the Trump-Kim meeting.

With the president greeting the freed Americans, comedian Dennis Miller responded with a humorous tweet that plays on Hillary Clinton's memorable "3 a.m. Phone Call" campaign ad.

"Mostly, we thank God for Tony's safe return", the statement said.

He said: "If Trump can fix North Korea and the Iran nuclear deal, then I don't see why he's any less of a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize than Barack Obama".

Trump thanked Kim for releasing the men.


The two men exchanged fiery rhetoric past year over North Korea's attempts to build a nuclear weapon that could reach the United States but tensions have since calmed considerably.

Mr Kim chose to grant amnesty to the three Americans at the "official suggestion" of the U.S. president, said North Korea's official news agency, KCNA.

In preparation for the high-stakes talks with Kim, Trump plans to consult with South Korean President Moon Jae-In when Moon visits the White House on May 22.

Pence also told CBS he spoke Wednesday with the family of Otto Warmbier, an American detainee who died past year shortly after his release from North Korean captivity. They were handed over to Pompeo during his second trip to Pyongyang this year, a visit that wasn't announced before Trump himself disclosed it on Tuesday while the secretary of state was in the air.

Shortly after they touched down in Alaska, the State Department released a statement from the freed men.

He adds: "We got Otto home the a year ago, but it wasn't soon enough". But their views of US diplomacy are surely newsworthy.

Trump personally welcomed home three Americans released from detention in North Korea, a triumphant middle-of-the-night moment for the president as he prepares for a landmark summit with Kim Jong Un. A North Korean official informed Pompeo that Kim had granted the three "amnesty", a senior USA official said. He reportedly ran a trade and hotel service company in Rason, a special economic zone on North Korea's border with Russian Federation. The university is the only privately funded college in North Korea and was founded in 2010 with donations from Christian groups.

"It's a great honor but the true honor is going to be when we have a victory of getting rid of nuclear weapons", Trump said.

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