Washington: After months of trading insults and threats of nuclear annihilation, President Donald Trump agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by May to negotiate an end to Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program, South Korean and U.S. officials said on Thursday.
The South Korean national security director, Chung Eui-yong, told reporters outside the White House of the planned summit, after briefing Trump and other top U.S. officials about a rare meeting with Kim in the North Korean capital on Monday. The meeting would be a first between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader, offering a potential breakthrough in relations between the two adversaries.
Chung Eui-yong, South Korea's national security adviser, first made the announcement at the White House on Thursday evening, later confirmed by Trump in a social media post. "President Trump appreciated the briefing and said he would meet Kim Jong-un by May to achieve permanent denuclearisation," Chung told reporters.
He said that the North Korean leader has expressed his "commitment to denuclearisation" and will "refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests" during the negotiations. In a post on Twitter early on Friday, Trump wrote, "Meeting being planned!"
"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," Trump said.
Chung Eui-yong, South Korea's national security adviser, had on Tuesday announced that the North Korean leader had agreed to meet with South Korea's President Moon Jae-in in April. Washington made the announcement of the proposed meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un soon after this.
The agreements, which follow a flurry of cooperative steps taken by the Koreas during last month's Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, brightened prospects for a dialogue between North Korea and the US over the North Korea's nuclear programme.
The meeting if held would be unprecedented during seven decades of animosity between the U.S. and North Korea. The countries do not even have formal diplomatic relations. They remain in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice and not a peace treaty.
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