U.S. President Donald Trump accepted the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s invitation for a meeting that will happen by the end of May. The unexpected development supprised Washington after a year of nuclear tensions and exchange of military threats.
Chung Eui-yong, the South Korean national security adviser, during a press conference at the White House on Thursday, said that Kim has also committed to stopping nuclear and missile testing, even during joint military drills in South Korea next month.
Chung passed the invitation from the North Korean leader while briefing Trump on the four-hour dinner he had with Kim in Pyongyang on Monday.
According to The Washington Post, there is a significant risk for Trump in agreeing to a meeting, apparently, without the kind of firm preconditions sought by previous U.S. administrations. There has never been a face-to-face meeting, or even a phone call, between sitting leaders of the two nations because American presidents have been wary of offering the Kim regime the validation of a leaders-level summit on the global stage.
White House official said that the North Korean leader’s message included a “commitment to denuclearization,” adding that the United States would require proof that the North is coherent to the promises if any prospective deal could be made.
However, President Trump said that the severe economic sanctions imposed on the North over the past year will stay in place until the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear program happens.
The development confused Washington’s political leadership and foreign policy analysts who were expecting a military conflagration on the Korean Peninsula.
Trump and Kim have threatened and insulted each other during the past year, with Trump mocking Kim as “Little Rocket Man” and saying that he will “totally destroy” North Korea, and Kim calling the American president a “dotard” and a “lunatic” and threatening to send nuclear bombs to Washington, D.C.