Trump Reportedly Tells Pentagon To Consider Reducing Troops In South Korea

Donald Trump hints venue for Kim Jong Un meeting could be announced soon

Sanders said the White House "can't confirm the validity of any of the reports now out about their release".

KELLY: Now, when I said President Trump was hinting that these three are about to be released, we learned about that via a presidential tweet.

Even as Washington presses for the release of the three American prisoners, the parents of a United States college student who died past year soon after being release from captivity in North Korea have sued Pyongyang over their son's death, saying Otto Warmbier was "brutally tortured and murdered". Trump has repeatedly called Mueller's Russian Federation probe a "witch hunt" and denied any wrongdoing regarding the sprawling investigation.

"By 2016-2017, the North Korean economy has become so dependent on China and so isolated from other partners that the overall effect of the new (U.N. -sponsored) sanctions relied nearly exclusively on the extent of China's goodwill", Szalontai said.

North Korea is also holding three US citizens, who the Trump administration has indicated could be released imminently.

"That's part of the issues that we'll be discussing in negotiations with our allies first, and of course with North Korea", Mattis said last week.

For the families of USA and Japanese victims of North Korea violations, the notion of an honorable Kim rang hollow on Thursday, as they relived the memories of loved ones involuntarily detained by Pyongyang. According to Victor D. Cha, a Korea scholar at Georgetown University, Trump is considering the move as he believes it would appeal to his political base and also reduce the expenses on the part of the U.S. It may also give him an advantage when he meets Kim, he added.

Past year the North staged its most powerful nuclear test to date and launched missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland as Kim and Trump traded threats of war and personal insults, sparking global security fears. Beijing has been calling for a "dual suspension" - of the North's nuclear and missile activities and of the large-scale military exercises between the US and South Korea. -North Korea summit this month.

Kim Sang-duk (also known as Tony Kim) was detained on espionage charges in 2017 and two weeks later, Kim Hak-song was held on suspicion of "hostile acts".

"The welfare and safety of USA citizens overseas is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State".

That same day, the Financial Times reported that the men had been released from the labor camps where they had been held since their arrests.

South Korea's DongA website said that the United States detainees may now be being coached to say that human rights abuses did not occur during North Korean custody.

The last time any American official had met with the Korean-Americans was in June 2017. Kim Dong Chul is the president of a company involved in global trade and hotel services.

China's foreign minister congratulated North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday on his moves to reduce tensions with South Korea, China said.

Reduced troop levels are not meant to be a bargaining chip in Trump's talks with Kim about his weapons program, the officials said.

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