U.S. President Donald Trump added to speculation that North Korea may make a goodwill gesture before his planned summit with leader Kim Jong Un when he tweeted of a possible update soon on the status of three detained Americans.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity on Wednesday, said there was no immediate confirmation of any change in the detainees' status.
Rudy Giuliani, Trump's new main lawyer, told Fox News Channel that Pyongyang would release them as early as Thursday.
South Korea said on Wednesday the issue of United States troops stationed in the South was unrelated to any future peace treaty with North Korea and that American forces should stay even if such an agreement is signed. "Stay tuned!" the president wrote.
Kim has seized the diplomatic initiative since agreeing to meet with Trump in a summit expected to be held in the coming weeks.
And, the third is Tony Kim, who also uses the name Kim Sang-duk, who was detained a year ago at the Pyongyang airport.
The meeting between Kim and Moon at the border truce village of Panmunjom on Friday came a month after Kim made a surprise visit to Beijing and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. -South Korean military exercises, Moon said last week that he'd dropped his demands for a USA exit in exchange for denuclearization.
They added that "there is recent historical precedent for the White House keeping Congress consistently informed during delicate worldwide negotiations", pointing to briefings the Obama administration routinely held with lawmakers on Iran. They have been held in a North Korean labor camp.
North Korea views the 23,500 US troops stationed in South Korea as a provocative reminder of the US-South Korea military partnership, even though the countries have repeatedly assured the North that it is a defensive posture.
For Trump, withdrawing troops would have multiple benefits, said Victor Cha, a Korea scholar at Georgetown University who was, for a time, under consideration to be ambassador to Seoul.
"U.S. Forces Korea is a matter regarding the U.S". Kim Dong Chul has been in North Korean custody since before Trump was elected, and the other two detainees were arrested last spring, after Trump's inauguration and as tensions between Washington and Pyongyang were beginning to ramp up.
Sol Kim, the son of detainee Tony Kim, said on social media that he was optimistic but had no information.