S. Korean official: Trump to meet with Kim Jong Un by May

Thursday, March 08, 2018 07:54PM
South Korean national security director Chung Eui-yong, center, speaks to reporters at the White House on Thursday. Intelligence chief Suh Hoon is at left. (Susan Walsh)AP
WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump has accepted an offer of a summit from the North Korean leader and will meet with Kim Jong Un by May, a top South Korean official said Thursday, in a remarkable turnaround in relations between two historic adversaries.

Stay on top of breaking news stories with the ABC11 News App

The South Korean national security director, Chung Eui-yong, told reporters of the planned meeting outside the White House, after briefing Trump and other top U.S. officials about a rare meeting with Kim in the North Korean capital on Monday.

"He expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible," Chung said. "President Trump appreciated the briefing and said he would meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization."

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.

South Korean national security director Chung Eui-yong speaks to reporters at the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 8, 2018. Intelligence chief Suh Hoon is at left

Chung Eui-yong spoke outside the White House after a day of briefings with senior U.S. officials, including Trump, on the recent inter-Korea talks.
Chung said Trump said "he would meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization" of the Korean peninsula.

Chung says Kim told the South Koreans he is "committed to denuclearization" and pledged that "North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests."

The meeting would be the first of its kind between a leader of North Korea and a sitting president of the United States. The two countries have been in a formal state of war since the Korean War in the 1950s.

"President Trump greatly appreciates the nice words of the South Korean delegation and President Moon. He will accept the invitation to meet with Kim Jong Un at a place and time to be determined," said Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. "We look forward to the denuclearization of North Korea. In the meantime, all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain."

An ABC News producer tweeted that ABC News reporter Jon Karl asked Trump privately if the statement will be about talks between the U.S. and North Korea. Trump responded: "It's almost beyond that. Hopefully, you will give me credit."

Trump teased the announcement in the White House press briefing room. It comes after hours of consultations at the White House between U.S. and South Korean officials over recent inter-Korean talks.

ABC News and The Associated Press contributed to this report
(Copyright ©2018 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.)