Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went to Pyongyang, picked up three American prisoners and brought them back to the USA, thus setting the stage for President Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The first North Korea-U.S. summit is expected to be held in Singapore after U.S. President Donald Trump ruled out the other possible venue that had been named, Panmunjom, the truce village at the inter-Korean border.
The move comes weeks before Trump will meet with Kim on June 12 in Singapore to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
But American officials have said Kim has signaled a willingness to move toward denuclearization amid a softening of relations between the US and North Korea in recent weeks.
"Our policy is to ensure the complete, irreversible and verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula".
Nauert, also appearing on Fox News' "Fox and Friends", traveled to North Korea with Pompeo for the prisoner release and recalled when they boarded the plane to return home.
Earlier Thursday, with the American former detainees by his side on a dark air base tarmac, Trump said during a made-for-TV ceremony that it was a "great honor" to welcome the men back to the USA, but he added that "the true honor is going to be if we have a victory in getting rid of nuclear weapons".
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After Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, Juncker said the USA "no longer wants to cooperate with other parts of the world".
And, more than two decades and multiple provocative weapons tests after the last accord, the threat from Pyongyang has only grown.
North Korea is unlikely to comply with these steps easily.
Singapore will provide a neutral backdrop for the summit, avoiding some of the security and political challenges of meeting in the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South.
Last month, Jae-in and Kim Jong-Un signed a declaration committing the two Koreas to denuclearization and peace talks to bring a formal end to the Korean War, 65 years after the hostilities ended with an armistice.
Maybe the North Koreans are just giving the appearance of cooperation in an attempt to get the U.S.to ease sanctions in exchange for future promises of disarmament.
Pompeo was the head of the Central Intelligence Agency for 15 months prior to being sworn in as Secretary of State on April 26.
At the time of the sensational defection, the South Korean Ministry of Unification released the following statement on the issue: "Thirteen defectors voluntarily made a decision to leave and pushed ahead with the escape without any help from the outside".
Outside experts have been extremely skeptical of what Trump can achieve at the meeting given the number of times in the past that North Korea has promised to freeze its missile programs or give up its nuclear weapons only to renege on those agreements.
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One of the nearest communities, creatively named Volcano, and its roughly 2,000 people are about three miles from the summit. The plant has been shut down, and workers are trucking away 60,000 gallons of flammable liquids.
Speaking to the media on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews Air Force Base, Kim Dong Chul said his release felt "like a dream".
North Korea denies kidnapping the South Koreans and says they want to remain in the North.
Whatever happens before or after this historic summit, it's the first between a current North Korean leader and a sitting USA president.
But White House officials opposed the idea as it could put undue emphasis on South Korea.
"I think we have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful", Trump said.
Pompeo, the top USA diplomat, had traveled to Pyongyang for meetings with senior North Korean officials Wednesday, and speculation had grown that he would be returning with the three detainees. A shocking revelation Thursday has Seoul investigating whether North Korea's claims are true, according to The Associated Press.
It considers the United States a close partner, while North Korea maintains a fully functioning embassy in the city-state. It is imperative to draw up a road map for denuclearization and continue applying pressure on North Korea until the country actually implements it. Trump must not rush simply in pursuit of success.
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