WASHINGTON, D.C.: US President Donald Trump hinted on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) that there would be imminent news about three Americans detained in North Korea, after sources said they had been relocated ahead of their possible release.
Kim last month made his first visit to Beijing since taking power six years ago, kicking off a flurry of diplomacy highlighted by his meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in last week.
President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un might likely hold their historic summit at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea, per the suggestion of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, CNN reported on Tuesday. One way to do that is to sack Moon Jung-in as his special adviser.
"The welfare and safety of USA citizens overseas are one of the highest priorities of the Department of State. His position is that the USFK should continue its presence here after the signing of the peace treaty", said the official.
He also said the president's remarks were conveyed to the special advisor, who was told not to cause confusion regarding Moon's stance on the issue, Yonhap reported.
The prisoners are said to have been relocated to Pyongyang in early April.
By meeting Kim in Korea, Trump has potentially headed off some potentially embarrassing logistical difficulties for the North Korean leader, who may not have a plane fit to cross the Pacific.
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Last year, Korea's trade surplus with the US accounted for just three percent of America's total trade deficit.
Even Moon's wife, South Korea's First Lady Kim Jung-sook, seemed impressed with the two leaders' intimacy.
Trump confirmed that the USA was working for their release last month. "But in a divided Korea, China would see the continuing presence of US forces in Korea as acceptable and somewhat inevitable within the ongoing division". "This is about potential war on the peninsula", Rice said.
"We're setting up meetings right now and I think it's probably going to be announced over the next couple of days, location and date", Trump said. If he was willing to pull the U.S. Forces Korea out over such a small matter, he could very well put that option on the table when he meets with Kim for the sake of winning the Nobel Peace Prize. "I thought it was very generous of President Moon" to suggest he should be given the honour.
"I think that some people maybe don't like the look of that", Trump added.
Analysts say Kim would have asked China, North Korea's only major ally and main economic lifeline, to soften its enforcement of sanctions aimed at the North. Kim also may have sought Chinese commitments to strongly oppose any military measure the United States might take should his talks with Trump fall apart and the North starts testing missiles again.