WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has accepted an offer of a summit from the North Korean leader and will meet with Kim Jong Un by May, a top South Korean official said Thursday, in a remarkable turnaround in relations between two historic adversaries.
The South Korean national security director, Chung Eui-yong, told reporters of the planned meeting outside the White House, after briefing Trump and other top U.S. officials about a rare meeting with Kim in the North Korean capital on Monday.
“He expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible,” Chung said. “President Trump appreciated the briefing and said he would meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a statement after a South Korean official broke the stunning news. Sanders says Trump “will accept the invitation to meet with” Kim.
She also says Trump “greatly appreciates the nice words of the South Korean delegation” and President Moon Jae-in.
She adds that the U.S. looks “forward to the denuclearization of North Korea,” but says all sanctions will remain in place in the meantime.
Seoul has already publicized that North Korea offered talks with the United States on denuclearization and normalizing ties, a potential diplomatic opening after a year of escalating tensions over the North’s nuclear and missile tests. The rival Koreas also agreed to hold a leadership summit in late April.