Trump aides fuel speculation over U.S. captives in North Korea

Chinese foreign minister praises North Korea during rare Pyongyang trip

South Korea's top national security adviser is now in the United States for discussions on an upcoming summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, both sides said Friday.

The U.S. government is looking into reports that the Americans had recently been relocated from a labor camp to a hotel near Pyongyang, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.

Kim, a South Korean-born US citizen, has been held the longest.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) shakes hands with South Korea's President Moon Jae-in (R) at the Military Demarcation Line that divides their countries ahead of their summit at the truce village of Panmunjom on April 27, 2018.

Wang's visit with Kim precedes a planned meeting between the North Korean leader and U.S. President Donald Trump in the coming weeks.

"But we need support from the global community and need to watch the (upcoming) summit between the United States and North Korea", he added.

In the meantime, issues in the Korean Peninsula are expected to dominate a trilateral summit between China, South Korea and Japan next week in Tokyo.

Trump's economic pressure on China in particular may have helped persuade Kim to move toward diplomacy, Szalontai said.

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"North Korea is willing to work together with China to push forward the friendly relations between North Korea and China to a new high stage", Kim told Wang during their meeting at the headquarters of the Worker's Party. Wang is also likely to discuss President Xi Jinping's visit to Pyongyang, after Xi accepted Kim's invitation last month to reciprocate his trip to Beijing.

China is considered the main economic lifeline for North Korea, despite condemnation of its nuclear and missiles tests and implementing United Nations punitive measures against the North.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is believed to have discussed the prisoners' release during a secret meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un over the Easter weekend in Pyongyang. -North Korean summit, according to a statement from the presidential office.

Joining Warren and Markey in signing the letter, were: U.S. Sens.

The North Korean leader, who took power in 2011, had never met with top officials of any country before this year. It was in Beijing, where the first indications of possible compromise between South and North Korea, and potential denuclearization, were voiced by Kim.

Chung may address the issue of a venue in Washington but he was more likely to discuss a "bigger deal" with US officials pertaining to North Korea, the South Korean official said.

He was detained in 2015 on spying charges and sentenced to 10 years' hard labour in 2016.

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