Donald Trump said on Thursday night he would meet Kim Jong-un within two months and the North Korean leader has vowed to stop nuclear tests.
In an extraordinary development, the US president said he would sit down with the North Korean leader “by May”, which, if it goes ahead, would be the first time a sitting US president has met a North Korea leader.
It followed an invitation from Mr Kim to talk, which was conveyed to the White House by South Korean officials after they met with the North Korean leader.
Chung Eui-yon, the head of South Korea’s National Security Office, said Mr Kim had indicated he was committed to denuclearisation, and had pledged the rogue nation would refrain from nuclear and missile tests.
The South Korean official, speaking in the White House driveway after meeting Mr Trump, said: “He (Mr Kim) expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible.
“President Trump appreciated the briefing, and said he would meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearisation.”
Asian stock markets responded positively to the news, with Japan’s Nikkei climbing 2.3 percent.
South Korean stocks were enjoying their best day since May, up 1.8 percent, while the dollar rose against the safe-haven Japanese yen .
Trump tweets reaction
Breaking with convention, Mr Chung spoke outside the White House with no US officials present. He added: “I explained to President Trump that his leadership and his maximum pressure policy, together with international solidarity, brought us to this juncture.”
The US president tweeted that “great progress was being made”.
The White House said Mr Trump’s meeting with the North Korean leader would be held “at a place and time to be determined.”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House Press Secretary, said Mr Trump “will accept the invitation to meet with” Mr Kim.
She added that the US looked “forward to the denuclearisation of North Korea,” but said all sanctions would remain in place in the meantime.
Abe to meet Trump in US
Japan’s prime minister welcomed the announcement and said he planned to visit the US within the next month to meet Mr Trump.
“I highly appreciate North Korea’s change that it will begin talks on the premise of denuclearisation,” Shinzo Abe said.
The Japanese leader hailed the development as “the achievement of cooperation between… Japan, the US, and South Korea to maintain great pressure”.
“There is no change in policy for Japan and the United States,” he added.
“We will keep putting maximum pressure (on North Korea) until North Korea takes concrete actions toward denuclearisation in a manner that is perfect, verifiable and irreversible.”
Mr Trump agreed to meet the North Korean leader because Mr Kim was the ultimate decision-maker in his country, a senior administration official said.
“President Trump has made his reputation on making deals,” the official said in a briefing with reporters.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the message from Kim was relayed orally to Mr Trump by a South Korean delegation in the Oval Office. There was no letter from Mr Kim, the official said.
“Kim Jong Un is the one person who is able to make decisions under their authoritarian, uniquely authoritarian, or totalitarian system, and so it made sense to accept an invitation to met with the one person who can actually make decisions instead of repeating the sort of long slog of the past,” said the official.
Trump wants ‘credit’ for meeting
The revelation that the two leaders had agreed to meet took the entire world by surprise.
A few hours before it was announced Mr Trump made a surprise and rare appearance in the White House briefing room, indicating a “major announcement” was about to be made.
He said: “Hopefully, you will give me credit.”
Mr Kim has also told South Korean officials that he understands the joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea must continue, Mr Chung said.
He added: “We stand united that we must not repeat the mistakes of the past, and the pressure will continue until North Korea matches its words with actions.”
Mr Chung led the delegation that went to Pyongyang and met Mr Kim on Monday.
One of the few Americans to have met the North Korean leader praised Mr Trump for agreeing to meet Mr Kim.
Dennis Rodman, the former NBA star who has travelled several times to North Korea, told The Associated Press he looked forward to returning to the pariah nation for “basketball diplomacy” in the coming months.
He says: “Well done, President Trump. You’re on the way to a historical meeting no U.S. president has ever done.”
Rodman added: “Please send my regards to Marshal Kim Jong Un and his family.”
Daniel Russel, until last April the assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific, the most senior US diplomatic position for Asia, noted there had still been no public comment from North Korea about the content of Monday’s meeting with the South Korean delegation.
“Let’s hear from the North Koreans themselves what they are proposing and what they are willing to do. There is plenty of reason to be cautious, given their track record,” Mr Russel said. “Second, let’s read the fine print. The North has made peace overtures in the past that did not hold up under scrutiny.”
Major coup for Seoul
Seoul had already publicly indicated North Korea offered talks with the US on denuclearisation and normalising ties, a potential diplomatic opening after a year of escalating tensions over the hermit kingdom’s nuclear programme.
While the path to a diplomatic resolution over the North’s nuclear arsenal would be long and difficult, talks could dampen fears of war breaking out.
Before the announcement Rex Tillerson, the US. Secretary of State, who is in Africa, said the US had seen “potentially positive signals” from North Korea.
The announcement was a major coup for Seoul, which has been pushing for a meeting between the US and North Korea since South Korean President Moon Jae-in came to power last year.
North and South Korea have agreed to hold their first joint summit in over a decade in late April, at the border village of Panmunjom, in the highly militarised zone between the two countries who are still technically at war.
That will mark the first time a North Korean leader has stepped south of the demarcation line since the Korean War of 1950-53, which has been viewed in Seoul as an indication of Mr Kim’s willingness to compromise.
Earlier this week, President Moon told his party officials that denuclearisation remained South Korea’s goal, that no concessions had been made to bring Mr Kim to the table, and that sanctions would not be eased as a reward for the summit.
He said: “We are at a very important juncture in establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula and denuclearisation.”
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/09/donald-trump-agrees-meet-kim-jong-un-may/