North Korea

What are believed to be the remains of some 55 U.S. servicemen killed in the Korean War have arrived in South Korea aboard a U.S. Air Force transport plane from the North in accordance with an agreement made last month between President Trump and Kim Jong Un at their summit in Singapore.

"A U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft containing remains of fallen service members has departed Wonsan, North Korea," the White House said in a statement late Thursday.

President Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un Tuesday in Singapore. The two signed a joint statement committing to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

After the summit, Trump spoke to reporters about the meeting and took questions. Following is a transcript of the press conference, provided by the White House, annotated by NPR reporters.

Updated at 12:20 a.m. ET

A handshake in Singapore set in motion a historic meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un — the first-ever between a sitting U.S. president and North Korean head of state. Both leaders have committed to "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," but it's unclear what specific steps North Korea is willing to take to get there.

Veteran diplomats say it could take years to assess the results of this week's nuclear summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump doesn't expect to wait that long.

"I think within the first minute, I'll know," whether Kim is serious about giving up his nuclear weapons, the president told reporters Saturday. "Just my touch. My feel. That's what I do."

The former head of North Korean military intelligence is traveling to New York, according to President Trump, who says Kim Yong Chol is coming to the U.S. to discuss the possible summit with Kim Jong Un.

The senior North Korean official's trip to the U.S. was initially reported by South Korean media, which said Kim Yong Chol had flown to Beijing and is booked on an Air China flight to New York that leaves Wednesday.

Confirming that news early Tuesday, Trump tweeted:

Updated at 4:40 p.m. ET

President Trump has called off a highly anticipated June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long planned meeting," Trump wrote in a letter to Kim.

Updated at 1 p.m. ET Wednesday

North Korea said it is canceling high-level talks with South Korea planned for Wednesday at their shared border area because of ongoing military exercises between the South and the United States.

The talks were scheduled for Seoul and Pyongyang to follow up on the agreement struck by the two Korean leaders at their historic summit last month.

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Michael S. Murphy

From Texas Standard.

Early Thursday morning at Joint Base Andrews near Washington, DC, three American detainees returned home from North Korea. President Trump greeted the men and said the release of the hostages shows that the U.S. has “a very good chance of doing something very meaningful” with North Korea.

Updated at 3:30 a.m. ET

Three American men who had been held by North Korea touched U.S. soil once again early Thursday, where they were met by President Trump, who has hailed his diplomacy with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for winning their freedom.

The trio — Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song and Tony Kim – all held on charges of espionage, arrived at Joint Base Andrews just outside of Washington, D.C., at about 2:40 a.m. ET. Their plane taxied to the meeting area, where a giant U.S. flag was suspended over the tarmac.

Updated at 12:49 p.m. ET

North Korea has released three Americans it had been holding captive, in a deal that was announced as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ended his visit to the isolated country. They left the country with Pompeo and will arrive back in the U.S. early Thursday, with an expected arrival between 2 and 3 a.m. ET at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. President Trump says he will meet them when they land.

Updated at 5:05 a.m. ET

Following a historic meeting between North Korea's Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the leaders appeared side by side to make an extraordinary announcement: The two nations — technically in a state of war for more than six decades — would work toward a permanent peace treaty and the elimination of nuclear weapons from the peninsula.

Updated at 9 a.m. ET

CIA Director Mike Pompeo made a secret visit to North Korea earlier this month and met with leader Kim Jong Un — a meeting that "went very smoothly," President Trump said on Wednesday.

"A good relationship was formed," Trump said, adding that the direct contact with North Korea — a rare step for the U.S. — was intended to work out details of a possible Trump-Kim summit.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT

From Texas Standard.

President Donald Trump quickly disproved any theories that he might step away from Twitter in his second year of office.

The president has spent the past 24 hours sounding off on foreign policy issues via Twitter – unleashing a tweet-storm aimed at nuclear relations in North Korea and anti-government protests in Iran.

fresh888/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

North Korea and Russia dominated foreign policy headlines in 2017, and a Texas-based geopolitical intelligence firm is indicating international decision makers should continue to keep an eye on those countries in the new year.

That’s part of a handful of predictions that Austin-based Stratfor is making in its Forecast for Geopolitical Risks for 2018.

LBJ Library photo by Jay Godwin

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited Austin for the opening of a new exhibit at the LBJ Presidential Library called Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection.

Albright stopped by the Texas Standard studio to talk about the collection. 

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley tells the U.N. Security Council that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is "begging for war," with the latest nuclear test that Pyongyang says is its first fusion device, a much more powerful weapon than it has exploded in the past.

"Enough is enough. War is never something the United States wants. We don't want it now. But our country's patience is not unlimited," Haley told an emergency session of the 15-member Security Council in New York.

(stephan)/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

North Korea now says it won't fire missiles at Guam after all. State media reports from Pyongyang say leader Kim Jong Un instead will "watch a little more [of] the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reviewed his military's plans to rain "an enveloping fire" around the U.S. territory of Guam — but opted not to fire missiles at this time, according to state media. Despite the stand-down, some Guamanians were alarmed after two radio stations aired an erroneous emergency alert Tuesday.

Updated at 6:50 p.m. ET

"Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely," President Trump said on Friday, in his latest salvo in the exchange of rhetoric with the isolated regime.

Trump added, "Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!"

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

As the leaders of two nuclear-armed countries trade threats, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says President Trump "is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong Un would understand, because he doesn't seem to understand diplomatic language."

Stefan Krasowski/Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

From Texas Standard:

North Korea demonstrated its new intercontinental ballistic missile capability over the weekend. It launched a guided missile with a range of at least 3,400 miles. It landed in the Sea of Japan. Experts say such a missile could reach Alaska, but North Korea does not yet have the capability to arm one with a nuclear warhead.

Updated at 7:19 p.m. ET

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed Tuesday that the missile launched by North Korea on Monday was an intercontinental ballistic missile, in a statement in which he condemned the test.

"Testing an ICBM represents a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region, and the world," Tillerson said.

(stephan)/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

As all eyes in Washington, D.C. are on the Senate health care bill, another major issue has been pushed to the sidelines. But U.S. Rep. Ted Poe (R-Humble) isn’t content to let it sit there. He’s pushing to have the U.S. label North Korea as a terrorist state in the wake of the death of American student Otto Warmbier.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the Trump administration is open to direct talks with North Korea as long as the agenda is right — that is, denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

As he prepared to chair a U.N. Security Council meeting on the subject, Tillerson sat down with NPR's Steve Inskeep to explain his approach. The secretary says North Korea has to come to the table willing to talk about giving up its nuclear weapons.

North Korea could reduce a U.S. strike force to a sea wreck if it's provoked, the country's propaganda outlets said Monday, adding to tensions on the Korean Peninsula. With the threat of a nuclear test in North Korea looming and another U.S. citizen reportedly detained there, China's President Xi Jinping is urging President Trump to avoid escalating the situation.

J.A. de Roo / Wikimedia Commons

From Texas Standard:

Early Monday morning, in the country’s latest display of aggression toward the West, North Korea fired four intermediate range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan. Three missiles landed within Japan’s exclusive economic zone, leading Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to call North Korea’s actions a clear violation of several UN Security Council resolutions.

Clay Gilliland/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Texas A&M University has a new partner – in North Korea. The nation’s only private university has reached out to ask for help teaching students how to grow food in a nation of persistent shortages and high food insecurity.

Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, which was founded and is mainly funded by American evangelical Christians, will receive donated teaching materials from the Aggies.

The remains of thousands of U.S. soldiers who died in the Korean War are "left here and there uncared and carried away en masse," a North Korean military spokesman said Monday.

He said the remains are being put at risk by large construction projects – and by the halting of joint recovery efforts. North Korea is estimated to contain the remains of more than 5,000 American soldiers.

From Seoul, Jason Strother reports:

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman is visiting North Korea again, six months after spending time there with dictator Kim Jong Un — an "awesome" man, in Rodman's opinion.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Beijing that:

"Rodman was spotted transiting the Beijing airport en route to Pyongyang, sporting his characteristic lip and nose rings, plus green hair.

America's unlikeliest link to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has reached out to his friend in a bid to have an American citizen released from one of the communist nation's notorious labor camps.

"I'm calling on the Supreme Leader of North Korea or as I call him 'Kim', to do me a solid and cut Kenneth Bae loose," former basketball star Dennis Rodman tweets.

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