Chief diplomats from the United States and South Korea said Friday that a complete denuclearization by North Korea requires robust verification, and that sanctions against Pyongyang would not be lifted unless it took concrete and further steps toward denuclearization.
The military hospital that received the three Americans released by North Korea says they will be reunited with their families once they have achieved what hospital officials call "an optimal period of decompression". But she noted that as preparations for the Trump-Kim summit continue, South Korean President Moon Jae-in will visit the White House on May 22. "Don't let these recent positive developments be perceived as the celebratory end of the freedom work in North Korea, and instead let it mark the beginning", Open Doors president David Curry said in a statement.
After Pompeo's 90-minute meeting with Kim Jong Un, he gave reporters a fingers-crossed sign when asked about the prisoners as he returned to his hotel.
"For decades, we have been adversaries", Pompeo said.
Three Korean-Americans who were detained in North Korea for more than a year were greeted by President Donald Trump beneath a giant American flag after they returned to the mainland USA early Thursday. "I think you probably broke the all-time in history television rating for 3 o'clock in the morning", he said.
Pompeo is himself just back from Pyongyang, after securing the first fruit of the tentative thaw in ties between Washington and Kim's regime - the return of three American detainees.
The three were detained for periods ranging from one to two years.
Pyongyang said it was taking "technical measures" to carry out the process between 23-25 May, North Korean state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.
It added that Pompeo came to North Korea to "personally convey the verbal message of the U.S. president" and prepare for the North-U.S. summit, and that leader Kim "expressed thanks, highly appreciating that the U.S. president has shown deep interest in settling the issue through dialogue".
The top USA diplomat said the release of three American detainees set the conditions for a successful summit between the US and North Korea.
But in September 2008, the North declared that it would resume reprocessing plutonium, complaining that Washington wasn't fulfilling its promise to remove the country from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism. -North Korea summit will aim to "realize CVID", using an abbreviation for "complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement" of the North's nuclear program.
The last American to be freed - Otto Warmbier, who was jailed for stealing a hotel sign - was released previous year but was fatally ill, and died shortly after returning home. For about 70 years since the Korean War, the US and North Korea have been hostile to one another.
"A North Korean official came to the hotel shortly after to inform Pompeo that Kim had granted amnesties to the three and that they would be released at 7 p.m. local time, according to a senior USA official present for the exchange".
But before any technical talk about reprocessed fuel rods, separated plutonium or spent fuel removal, Trump will want to answer one basic question - whether North Korea wants to change.