US hopes North Korea will become close partner, Pompeo says

Donald Trump talks to the media next to the three Americans formerly held hostage in North Korea

Fresh from a dramatic trip to North Korea and ahead of a historic summit, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States will provide economic help if the country gives up its nuclear weapons, and perhaps ultimately agree to normalised relations.

The hostage release and the scheduled summit are extraordinary news.

Both Kang and Pompeo stressed that their goal is to achieve a "complete" and "verifiable" denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

"We have a month and several days".

Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song and Kim Sang Duk were held in North Korea. "I will not just sit and talk for nothing", he said. This would allow the North to continue its nuclear weapons program and run out the clock to the USA 2020 presidential election. The dialogue and confidence-building efforts that have been made between the United States and North Korea can be considered a welcome move. We welcome their release and view this as a sign of goodwill from Kim Jong Un that puts us on the right track for a successful summit.

Singapore also is welcome ground for the United States. "In fact, on a historical note, the first meeting between the leaders of China and Taiwan took place in Singapore some years back", Shah noted.

"Singapore is neither too far away as European nations are, allowing Kim Jong Un's private jet to make it here without refueling, nor too close that Trump might be seen as "giving way" to Kim by having to travel a longer distance than the latter", said Nah Liang Tuang, a research fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies.

Given that he has criticized America's forward bases in the past, he may suggest a dramatic gesture to show that the USA has no intention of using its troops in South Korea against the North. Kim, no doubt, will be interested, and he might even agree to shake hands on something along the lines of "denuclearization" in exchange for United States troop withdrawals.

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Estimates suggest the value of North Korea's basic minerals - coal, copper, etc. - ranges from $6 to $10 trillion total, not counting the rare earth metals. We'll hold them to those steps. "It's now been set".

Victoria Coates, Senior Director for International Negotiations at the National Security Council, the White House, told reporters that the meeting could be scuttled if Kim Jong-un did something unacceptable to the US.

South Korea and the DPRK fielded a joint women's ice hockey team during the Winter Olympics, which was the first unified Olympic team between the two sides.

Long before dawn Thursday, with the former detainees by his side on the air base tarmac, Trump said it was a "great honor" to welcome them back to the USA but "the true honor is going to be if we have a victory in getting rid of nuclear weapons".

If Trump can not get the big breakthrough he wants in denuclearization, he may try instead to negotiate a treaty to establish diplomatic relations with the North and formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, which was halted by an armistice.

Trump once showed an interest in holding the summit in Panmunjom, where a summit of the South and North Korean leaders was held.

"The Trump administration can already write down these actions to its credit as achievements in the Korean direction", Lobov said.

But it also raises the tantalising possibility that a successful outcome to the summit and a dominant showing overseas could begin to lift the President's overall approval rating a little ahead of midterm elections in November, it added.

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