“I share in the hopes of our entire nation that the June 12th meeting will further our longtime goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula,” Mr. McConnell, of Kentucky, said in a statement on Thursday. “This is as close as we’ve ever come to a Korean peninsula without nuclear weapons,” Mr. McConnell added in a Twitter post.
The hostages, who were held in North Korea on charges of committing espionage or unidentified “hostile acts” against the nation, faced different treatment from the North Koreans. One man, Kim Dong-chul, said he had to do “a lot of labor,” but, he said, when he was sick, he received treatment. The three men were taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for testing.
Even as Mr. Trump praised Mr. Kim for how the hostages were treated, he acknowledged that another American hostage, Otto F. Warmbier, “really suffered” while he was in the North’s custody. Mr. Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, died last June, just days after he was released from 17 months of North Korean captivity. In September, Mr. Trump said, “Otto was tortured beyond belief by North Korea.”
The president recently ruled out a meeting site in the Demilitarized Zone, the strip of land that divides the Koreas. Singapore, while considered a more neutral site, is a common port of call for American warships. Singapore hosts a major international port and the United States Navy operates a logistics headquarters there.
In determining the location of the meeting, officials also had to consider the limited places where Mr. Kim could travel due to his nation’s aging fleet of Soviet-era aircraft.