Eli Ridder | The Avro Post
United States President Donald Trump agreed to hold talks with North Korean leader Kim Jung-un, according to a South Korean intelligence official speaking in front of the White House on Thursday evening.
Mr. Kim invited Mr. Trump to meet and offered to suspend nuclear testing in a letter delivered to the president by a South delegation that had arrived in Washington some 48 hours earlier after visiting the North’s leader.
Trump said he will meet with Kim as early as May, South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong said shortly after 7 p.m. to gathered reporters in Washington.
Mr. Chung said that Kim offered to halt all nuclear and missile testing, saying he told the U.S. president that Kim was “committed to denuclearization”.
Chung and other top intelligence officials from South Korea, or the Republic of Korea, had just spent the beginning of the week meeting with Kim in “unprecedented” talks following what some describe as warmer relations following the Olympic Games.
Trump hailed the latest development as “great progress” but said the multitude of U.S. sanctions would remain firmly in place until a firm agreement was reached.
In a statement sent to the Washington Post, the DPRK ambassador to the United Nations cited the “courageous decision” by supreme leader Kim that brought about “peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and the East Asia region.”
China has called for “political courage” over the Kim-Trump meeting and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called it “a step in the right direction.”
President Xi Jingping said the talks should occur “as soon as possible”, according state news agency Xinhua.
Rex Tillerson said it will take “some weeks” to arrange the specific timing for the meet between the two leaders, reported the Associated Press.
The United States has no formal diplomatic presence in North Korea, and relies on countries like Sweden for communications.
The North, formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, drastically increased the advancement and frequency of their nuclear and long-range missile tests in 2017, causing tensions to flare up on the international stage.
Pyongyang left the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in January of 2003 after some 18 years of membership.
More details to follow. Image of Donald Trump and Kim Jung-un from the NY Post.