North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump will hold a meeting by May, says South Korea.
Speaking Thursday night outside the White House, Chung Eui-Yong, South Korean national security director, said that Kim had requested the meeting.
Chung said Kim told South Korea that he’s committed to denuclearization.
“Kim pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests,” he said.
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.
Top Trump administration officials got a chance to hear firsthand from South Korean national security director, Chung, who led the delegation that went to Pyongyang and met Kim on Monday.
Chung told reporters on Tuesday that he received a message from North Korea intended for the United States but didn’t disclose what it was. According to Chung, the North also agreed to suspend nuclear and missile tests during such future talks — a longstanding U.S. demand.
White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the South Korean statement, flagged by U.S. President Donald Trump in his surprise appearance in the press briefing room, would be made by Chung. Trump said it was planned for 7 p.m. ET.
On Tuesday, Trump had expressed both hope and skepticism about the reported offer of talks, which has yet to be confirmed, at least publicly, by the isolated North Korean government. 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 over what represents an emerging threat to the U.S. mainland.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday in Ethiopia that the U.S. has seen “potentially positive signals” from North Korea, but the adversaries are still a long way from holding negotiations