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The North Korean government is likely holding out for an exchange of hostages before an expected summit with the U.S. that may involve the release of a third group of Americans detained in North Korea.
The exchange of hostages could be viewed as the first step in bringing about a prisoner release agreement between Pyongyang and Washington, which could in turn help set the stage for more substantive talks to resolve the nuclear stand-off. The release of the three young Americans, who are believed to be Americans, comes a day after Pyongyang suspended nuclear-related talks with Washington.
President Trump tweeted that a summit meeting is “not a ‘done deal,’ like you are thinking.”
North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has reportedly called for the U.S. and South Korea to exchange young hostages for nuclear fuel, in a show of faith that an agreement can be secured ahead of the expected summit.
North Korea’s leadership is likely holding out for an exchange of hostages, before the summit with the U.S. that could involve the release of three people who have been held in North Korea since being arrested after the country’s 2014 leader Kim Jong-un visited the country at the end of September.
North Korea’s leadership is likely holding out for an exchange, not the hostage release. The U.S. has not issued an ultimatum for the country to release its leader. The Trump administration has not demanded the release of the Americans or North Korea’s nuclear facilities being dismantled in response to the North’s suspension of nuclear talks with the U.S., according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
“I think this is a very significant development and one that could be quite significant,” South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said of the North’s reported demand from the country’s leadership.
The exchange of hostages could be viewed as the first step in bringing about a prisoner release agreement between Pyongyang and Washington that could in turn help set the stage for more substantial talks to resolve the nuclear standoff.