Trump agrees to hold the talks by May, according to the South Korea national security adviser
President Donald Trump has accepted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's invitation to meet for de-nuclearization talks, South Korea's national security advisor confirmed Thursday.
Chung Eui-Yiong told reporters during brief remarks at the White House that Trump has agreed to meet Kim by May after Kim "expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible".
Trump and Kim have a year-long history of acrimonious rhetoric, with Trump notably threatening the North Korean leader, whom he has called "little rocket man", with "fire and fury", and Kim retorting "a frightened dog barks louder" after Trump addressed the UN.
In addition to seeking talks, Kim told the South Koreans he has pledged to halt Pyongyang's ballistic missile and nuclear tests and will not oppose joint U.S.-South Korean military drills, said Chung, who was in Washington to brief Trump and senior U.S. officials on Seoul's recent talks with the North.
Still, Chung struck a note of caution, emphasizing it is vital "we not repeat the mistakes of the past", while stressing his government and Trump "are optimistic of our continuing diplomatic process to test the possibility of a peaceful resolution".
"The Republic of Korea along with the United States, Japan and our many partners around the world remain fully and resolutely committed to the complete de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula," he said.
The time and place of the talks is yet to be determined, the White House said while stressing "all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain". If the meeting does take place it would mark the first sit-down between a serving U.S. president and a Korean leader.
The countries lack formal diplomatic ties, and nearly three decades of sporadic talks have failed to de-nuclearize the Korean peninsula.
Trump has insisted that direct negotiations only take place "under the right conditions", and hailed "great progress" in moving the process forward Thursday night on Twitter.
"Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time," he said.
A senior U.S. administration official stressed the meeting is not tantamount to formal negotiations, telling reporters on a conference call Trump expects Kim to "put action to these words that were conveyed via the South Koreans".
Trump briefed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over the phone Thursday night about the developments, the official said.