But, as more details emerge from last week's stunning announcement that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump have agreed to discuss North Korea's denuclearization before May, South Korean news agency DongA reports that the North Korean leader may release American detainees as a "gift," and that he would like to establish diplomatic relations with the placement of a U.S. embassy in Pyongyang.
Now, the international community 's interest is when and how Kim Jong - un' s declaration goes. Some have speculated that Kim Jong-un promised President Trump that he would release American detainees in North Korea and stop developing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). However, a key official of the passport authority said, "The suspension of the ICBM development is included in the denuclearization process naturally, but it is not a promise." The release of the detained American is a kind of gift as Kim Jong- "He said.
"The ultimate goal of Kim Jong Eun is to establish normal diplomatic relations with the North-US peace treaty. It also includes placing the US embassy in Pyongyang."
President Trump surprised the world last week with the announcement that he had agreed to talk directly with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in a historic meeting. Both Russia and Sweden have offered to host the talks - while North Korea is reportedly sending foreign minister Ri Yong Ho to Stockholm ahead of the Trump-Kim talks.
South Korean special envoy Chunt Eui-yong announced last week that North Korea has signaled its willingness to abandon its nuclear program "if regime security can be guaranteed."
North and South Korea have had a contentious relationship for decades - which thawed during the 2018 Winter Olympics. The fact that South Korea is effectively brokering the North Korean meeting is notable in itself, as it could also set the stage for the reunification of the two Koreas.
Of course, as President Trump tweeted yesterday, the domestic news media is playing down the progress apparently being made, and any Trump involvement:
"North Korea has not conducted a Missile Test since November 28, 2017 and has promised not to do so through our meetings. I believe they will honor that commitment!
In the first hours after hearing that North Korea’s leader wanted to meet with me to talk denuclearization and that missile launches will end, the press was startled & amazed. They couldn’t believe it. But by the following morning the news became FAKE. They said so what, who cares!"
Ahead of the summit between Trump and Kim Jong-Un, CIA Director Mike Pompeo told Fox News Sunday that the United States will make "no concessions" before the denuclearization talks, and that Kim must stand by the concessions he's offered - including ceasing nuclear and missile testing, allowing U.S. - South Korean military exercises, and leaving denuclearization on the table.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo tells @johnrobertsFox the U.S. will make "no concessions" during negotiations with North Korea. Watch the full interview at 2P/7P ET on @FoxNews Channel. pic.twitter.com/SP7xLqBMmu— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) March 11, 2018
As we wrote earlier, Pompeo justified Trump's decision by suggesting that the US leverage over North Korea has never been greater: "Never before have we had the North Koreans in a position where their economy was at such risk, and where their leadership was under such pressure that they would begin conversations on the terms that Kim Jong Un has conceded to" and added that the discussions with North Korea, should they occur, “will play out over time."
Pompeo also said that sanctions on North Korea will continue, especially as they are having an impact on North Korea’s economy and have brought Kim to the negotiating table, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
“Now we have a situation where the president is using diplomacy but we’re not removing the maximum pressure campaign,” Mnuchin said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “The president is going to sit down and see if he can cut a deal.”
As a refresher, here's Trump's view on North Korea from 1999 - in which he said "first I'd negotiate," before preemptively striking Pyongyang. "The biggest problem this world has is nuclear proliferation," said Trump.
With word of a Kim's prisoner release "gift" and his desire to establish a U.S. embassy in Pyongyang, one wonders exactly who the new ambassador would be?