Trump rules out Korean 'DMZ' as nuclear summit site, announcement within days

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea won't be the site of an upcoming nuclear summit.

"It will not be there," Trump told reporters before a Cabinet meeting at the White House, adding that the time and place of the historic meeting between the American president and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will be announced, "within three days."

Trump, who had previously raised the prospect of using the DMZ as a summit site, spoke as his secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, traveled back to the United States from North Korea with three Americans who were released from detainment — Kim Hak-song, Kim Dong-chul and Kim Sang-duk.

U.S. efforts to convince Kim to give up his nuclear capabilities come against the backdrop of Trump announcing Tuesday that he would restore Iran sanctions that had been suspended under a deal to freeze Tehran's nuclear program.

RELATED: Countdown to a standoff -- A timeline of tension with North Korea

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Countdown to a standoff: A timeline of tension with North Korea
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Countdown to a standoff: A timeline of tension with North Korea

Jan. 6, 2016:

After four years in power, Kim Jong Un says his country can produce a hydrogen bomb, the first step toward a nuclear weapon that could target the United States. The nation tests a device, but Western experts are not convinced it is a genuine hydrogen bomb.

Feb. 7, 2016:

North Korea sends up a satellite. The United States calls this a disguised test of an engine powerful enough to launch an ICBM.

March 9, 2016:

North Korea claims it can miniaturize a nuclear device to fit onto a missile.

June 23, 2016:

North Korea says it has successfully tested an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM), with a range of 2,000 to 3,400 miles. Kim Jong Un claims the country can now attack "Americans in the Pacific operation theater," including the territory of Guam.

Sept. 9, 2016:

North Korea conducts its fifth and largest nuclear test on the anniversary of the country's founding. It says it has mastered the ability to mount a warhead on a ballistic missile.

April 15, 2017:

North Korea reveals a new ICBM design, displaying the missiles at a military parade to mark the birthday of founding leader Kim Il Sung. Within three months, the missiles are tested.

July 4, 2017:

North Korea tests an ICBM for the first time, saying it can launch a missile that can reach the continental United States. The missile, Hwasong-14, is tested again three weeks later, this time in a night launch.

Aug. 8, 2017:

North Korea's army threatens to fire missiles towards Guam in an "enveloping fire." The message comes hours after President Donald Trump warns Pyongyang that it will be "met with fire and fury" if North Korea does not stop threatening the United States.

Aug. 23, 2017:

North Korea publishes photographs of Kim beside a diagram of what appears to be a new ICBM. Weapons experts say it will be more powerful than the missiles tested by Pyongyang in July, and could have Washington and New York within range.

Aug 29, 2017:

North Korea fires an intermediate range missile over northern Japan, prompting warnings to residents to take cover. The missile falls into the Pacific Ocean, but sharply raises tensions in the region.

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Some of Trump's allies have said that he should be given the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing North Korea to the negotiating table.

Trump joked with reporters when asked about that.

"Everyone thinks so," he responded when asked if he should get the prize, "but I would never say it."

Trump said he wanted a "victory the world" in North Korea and warned that there's distance between where the parties are now and finalizing an agreement.

"Everything can be scuttled," he said. "I think we have a really good chance to make a great deal for the world."

But it was hard to ignore that one nuclear-nonproliferation deal appeared to be coming together just as Trump had ripped up another one. Critics of his Iran decision fear that Tehran will use the U.S. withdrawal from the multinational pact to justify restarting its nuclear-weapons program.

Trump reiterated that would draw a U.S. response. "If they do," he said, "there will be very severe consequences."

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