President Donald Trump announced Friday that a date and location has been set for a planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“We now have a date and we have a location, we’ll be announcing it soon,” Trump told reporters outside the White House, right before he left Washington, D.C., for Texas.
According to Reuters, the White House will be revealing both the date and location in an upcoming statement. The news hints at progress in regard to the potential release of three Americans currently being held by the foreign regime.
Reports that the three Americans, who had been arrested and held in a labor camp, were recently moved to a hotel in Pyongyang are currently being investigated by the U.S. government.
“They are staying in a hotel on the outskirts of Pyongyang,” said Choi Sung-ryong, a South Korean activist with contacts in North Korea, according to South China Morning Post.
Two of the hostages were detained in 2017, after Trump assumed the presidency.
White House officials have been hopeful that Kim Hak-song, Kim Sang-duk and Kim Dong-chul will be released by the regime before the summit between Trump and Kim.
“We’re having very substantive talks with North Korea and a lot of things have already happened with regard to the (U.S.) hostages,” Trump told reporters. “I think you’re going to be seeing very good things.”
The president is also expected to push the North Korean leader to give up his country’s nuclear weapons.
The president said Friday that, as part of negotiations, he would consider reducing the U.S. military presence along the South Korean border.
Such a reduction would not come immediately, Trump said, but it could be an option in the long term.
“Now I have to tell you, at some point into the future, I would like to save the money. You know, we have 32,000 troops there,” Trump said.
Though no location for the summit has been given as of yet, Trump hinted earlier this week that the demilitarized zone between both North and South Korea would be a prime spot, though he said that Singapore would also be an excellent venue.
The Peace House at the DMZ was the chosen location for a meeting that took place last month between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
As reported by The Western Journal, the historic meeting saw both officials agree to seek peace and officially end the Korean War. Kim and Moon shook hands in a show of unity — a gesture that the citizens of North Korea did not see, at least in real time.
“North Korean media will cut and splice to show Kim in the most favorable light, and ideally in a superior position to his southern counterpart,” said Euan Graham, the Lowy Institute’s international security director.
Graham added that the chance for embarrassment on live TV poses too great a risk for the North Korean dictator, so it is rarely an option for his regime.
Graham said he wasn’t surprised by the move to shun the live broadcast, as it was “the same for the Winter Olympics.”
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