The rapidly evolving state of US-North Korea relations, in two photos

Trump says he will meet with Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12

Trump says he will meet with Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12

Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old American student who was detained in North Korea for 17 months, died in June 2017 after he was released by Kim's regime.

He adds: "We got Otto home the a year ago, but it wasn't soon enough".

On the tarmac, Trump thanked Kim for the return of the USA citizens and said it was a sign that the talks with North Korea could be successful.

The North Korean leader also welcomed plans for the summit earlier Thursday in a report on the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

United States officials said their freedom removed the last major obstacle, providing Trump with tangible evidence that his twin-track policy of engagement and "maximum pressure" was working.

He says, "We have no illusions about that". -North Korean summit June 12 in Singapore, Trump said Thursday.

North Korea's official news agency, KCNA, said early Thursday that Kim "accepted an official suggestion of the US president for the release of Americans who have been detained in the DPRK for their anti-DPRK hostilities", referring to the initials of the authoritarian nation's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

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"Frankly we didn't think it was going to happen and it did", Mr Trump said after thanking Mr Kim for releasing the men.

He added of the talks between his administration and the North Korean government, "It's never been taken this far". They were greeted personally by Trump upon their return to the USA on Thursday morning.

The freed prisoners appeared exhausted but in excellent spirits, flashing peace signs and waving their arms as they emerged from the aircraft.

The White House choreographed the arrival event, suspending a giant American flag between two fire engines on the ground and inviting reporters to witness the return. I mean, the pat answer is - well, it's energy assistance, it's economic assistance, but it sounds as though President Trump is moving more in the direction of bigger things, bigger carrots, if you will, including normalization of political relations, a peace treaty, and there even been reports in the newspaper last week that he's considering removing ground troops - US ground troops from the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. had long demanded that North Korea free the men, Kim Dong-chul, Kim Hak-song and Tony Kim, who had been held on charges of espionage and "hostile acts". He returned on a separate plane, joining Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on the tarmac.

Mr. Trump's announcement came just hours after three Americans who had been held prisoner in North Korea arrived at a us military base outside Washington, having been released by Mr. Kim.

Leaders of the United States and North Korea will meet for the first time when U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un hold a summit on June 12 in Singapore where the U.S. side will try to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.

"It was the most incredible thing as an American to see those men walk on our plane on the ground in Pyongyang", Nauert said.

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The men were taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where they are to be evaluated and receive medical treatment before being reunited with their families. In this case, clearly, it is an effort by the North Koreans to try to gain the - I don't know what they want exactly, but to gain the trust, to gain the confidence of the US leader.

State Department officials refused to discuss anything but the most basic details of their conditions, citing privacy concerns.

Eastern time when they arrive at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

CHA: Well, of course they have taken and released hostages before.

Mr Warmbier's death escalated US-North Korea tensions, already running high at the time over Pyongyang's stepped-up missile tests.

The Americans freed after more than a year in North Korea's prison flew home Wednesday.

Viviani takes stage 2, Dennis in pink
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