U.S. President Donald Trump said that North Korea’s decision to release three American hostages was a great sign that the regime was open to negotiations and showed their true intent to move forward with the proposed peace process:
“The fact that we were able to get them out so soon is really a tribute to a lot of things; including a certain process that is taking place right now. And that process is very important, so we’ll see what happens.”
The President had travelled to an Air Force base near Washington early Thursday morning to welcome the three Americans back home after spending years in a North Korean prison.
The three Americans of Korean descent; Kim Dong-chul, Tony Kim and Kim Hak-song were arrested and charged with different crimes from 2015 to 2017. President Trump thanked North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un for their safe release:
“We very much appreciate that he allowed them to go before the meeting, it was sort of understood that we’d be able to get these three terrific people during the meeting and bring them home after the meeting.”
It has been widely speculated that President Trump would meet Kim Jong-un to discuss the formal denuclearization of North Korea. The two leaders were on a collision course last year as President Trump continued to rally countries to impose economic sanctions on North Korea for testing nuclear-powered weapons.
A historic meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim appeared to have successfully altered the course away from war and toward peace in the Peninsula.
News reports from various media believe the long-awaited meeting between President Trump and Kim will take place in Singapore.
President Trump added that he believes Kim’s motivation to release the American hostages was to bring North Korea into “the real world”:
“I really think he wants to do something. I think he did this because I really think he wants to do something and bring that country into the real world. I really believe that.”
If the meeting with Kim does go ahead, President Trump will be the first sitting American President to successfully negotiate a discussion with a North Korean leader. The previous administrations of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all tried but failed to secure a summit with North Korea.
This is a distinction the 45th President of the United States is well aware of:
“It’s never been taken this far. There’s never been a relationship like this.”