US-NKorean Summit Now On the Cards
US President Donald Trump is ready to meet NKorean leader Kim Jung by May in response to Kim’s invitation to hold the 1st-ever US-NKorea summit, a SKorean envoy said, marking a potentially dramatic breakthrough in the North Korea nuclear standoff.Kim has committed to “denuclearization” and to suspending nuclear or missile tests, SKorea’s National Security Office head Chung Eui-yong told reporters at the White House after briefing President Trump on SKorean officials’ meeting with Kim last Monday.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said President Trump “will accept the invitation to meet with Kim Jong Un at a place and time to be determined.”
She added: “We look forward to the denuclearization of NKorea. In the meantime, all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain.”
A meeting between Kim and Trump, who have exchanged bellicose insults in the past year that have raised fear of war, would be a major turnaround after a year in which NKorea has carried out a battery of tests aimed at developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the US Mainland.
“I told him (Trump) that in our meeting that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said that he’s committed to denuclearization,” Chung said. “Kim pledged that NKorea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests.”
“He expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible,” he said. “President Trump appreciated the briefing and said he would meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve denuclearization.”
Trump’s aides have been wary of North Korea’s diplomatic overtures because of its history of reneging on international commitments.
Chung and National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon flew to Washington earlier on Thursday to explain NKorea’s stance on possible future talks with Washington and the prospect of Pyongyang suspending nuclear tests if the security of the North’s government is assured.
Early Thursday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that though “talks about talks” might be possible with Pyongyang, denuclearization negotiations were likely a long way off.
Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said in response to the announcement in Washington that NKorea must commit to abandoning nuclear development completely in order for meaningful talks to take place with Pyongyang.