Donald Trump agrees to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un: White House
South Korean National Security Adviser says Kim Jong-un conveyed to the South Koreans he was committed to denuclearisation and had “pledged” to suspend all nuclear and missile tests.
US President Donald Trump has agreed to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at his invitation, at a time and place to be determined at a later date, the White House said on Thursday.
The announcement followed consultations between American and South Korean officials, who had arrived early in the day bearing the invitation from Kim from their meeting in Pyongyang on Wednesday.
Chung Eui-yong, the South Korean National Security Adviser, at the White House said Kim had “expressed eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible” and the American leader had agreed and said he “will meet Kim by May”.
He added the North Korean leader conveyed to the South Koreans he was committed to denuclearisation and had “pledged” to suspend all nuclear and missile tests.
In a separate statement shortly after, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the time and place were yet to be decided.
“President Trump greatly appreciates the nice words of the South Korean delegation and President Moon. He will accept the invitation to meet with Kim Jong Un at a place and time to be determined,” she said, adding, “We look forward to the denuclearisation of North Korea. In the meantime, all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain.”
News of the talks offer was teased in a way by President Trump himself in a rare, unannounced appearance at the White House news briefing room. He told surprised reporters to be prepared for remarks from South Korean officials.
He followed it up with a tweet: “Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearisation with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!”
Both the United States and South Koreans welcomed the offer of talks and the suspension of missile and nuclear tests with caution. They have seen this movie before.
The talks offer comes after months of escalating tensions driven mostly by a series of nuclear and missile tests by Pyongyang that included an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile that could reach the American mainland.
These were accompanied by a heated exchange of words between the two leaders. The American president warned North Korea he will rain “fire and fury” on it and will “completely destroy” it.
And it got personal. Trump, who likes short and sharp put-downs, began calling the North Korean leader “little Rocket Man” and a “sick puppy”.
Kim responded calling Trump a “frightened dog”, a “gangster” and “dotard”, an old person, who has become weak and senile.
But tempers cooled down around the recent Winter Olympics in South Korea. Kim sent his sister Kim Yo Jong to head his country’s delegation.
She was seated in the same VIP box as US vice-president Mike Pence for the inauguration ceremony, but they barely even looked at each other.
But, she did meet South Korean president Moon Jae-in, who ran and won on the promise of reconciliation with the estranged second half of the country, and held talks over lunch.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Daily Report and is published from a Hindustan Times)
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