Donald Trump to meet Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12

Donald Trump to meet Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12

"It's like a dream and we're very, very happy", Kim Dong-chul said through a translator moments after exiting the plane.

Analysts are watching the negotiations closely to see if the return of the prisoners is a gesture of genuine goodwill from the North or if Kim will ultimately use the release of the men as leverage for prolonging the time frame for reducing or completely dismantling North Korea's nuclear abilities.

President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a historic summit on June 12 in Singapore where the USA leader will try to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons. The three then stepped out, shaking hands with the president and waving to media and military personnel.

South Korean leader Moon Jae-in met with his North Korean counterpart at the Peace House building, in the demilitarised village of Panmunjom, at the end of April.

However, the US Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said the release of detained American citizens from North Korea was "no great accomplishment" of Mr Kim.

Tony Kim's family said in a statement they were "very grateful" that he and the other prisoners had been released.

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The North Korean authorities on Thursday published still images of a meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"This is a special night for these three really great people and congratulations on being in this country", the president said.

Throughout 2017, Trump and Kim were engaged in a war of words, routinely trading threats and insults from across the globe. The breakthrough came after landmark talks between North and South Korea.

The summit, which has been in the works since Trump accepted Kim's invitation to meet in March 2018, will be the first-ever meeting between a sitting United States president and North Korean leader.

The three recently-released detainees, by comparison, were in good spirits, waving to the crowd and flashing peace signs.

The president is accompanied by first lady Melania Trump. He was detained in April 2017 and accused of acts meant to overthrow the government. North Korean officials accused the two of anti-state activities and trying to overthrow the government.

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"I was treated in many different ways, but overall I had to do much labor and when I became ill I received some treatment", Kim Dong-chul said via a translator.

The three men, Kim Hak-song, Tony Kim and Kim Dong-chul, were smiling and waving and appeared in good health.

The release of the last United States detainees in North Korea appeared to signal an effort by Kim to improve the tone for the summit and followed his recent pledge to suspend missile tests and shut a nuclear bomb test site.

Bonnie Glaser is an Asia expert at Center for Strategic and International Studies. "It was a goofy headline for them to do", Loesch said.

However, speaking to ABC News later Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence suggested otherwise.

Trump added that his "proudest achievement will be when the entire Korean Peninsula is denuclearised". And the fact that we were able to get them out so soon was really a tribute to a lot of things, including a certain process that's taking place right now.

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