President Donald Trump has agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the White House announced, setting the scene for an unprecedented encounter between two nations that only recently threatened to wipe each other out.
The meeting, which would be the first between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader, will take place by May, according to South Korea’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, who delivered the invitation to Trump after a visit by his delegation to Pyongyang earlier this week.
Trump’s decision to meet Kim, after a year in which the two have repeatedly traded insults, is a remarkable breakthrough — albeit one with uncertain consequences. It brings the North Korean regime close to its long-desired aim of recognition on the international stage, and it offers Trump the tantalizing prospect of a historic diplomatic victory.
The South Korean delegation, which landed in Washington, D.C. for a debriefing Thursday on the North-South talks, was careful to praise Trump’s influence over the developments. Chung said the US President’s “leadership” and his administration’s pressure on the North Korean regime had “brought us to this juncture.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump “greatly appreciates the nice words” of the delegation and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.