United States President Donald Trump has accepted an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to meet him, South Korean officials announced on Friday. US Department of State Secretary Rex Tillerson said it will take “some weeks” to arrange the meeting between the two leaders, AP reported.
The 10-member South Korean delegation, which had held talks with Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang earlier this week, is now in Washington. They said the North Korean leader had agreed to stop nuclear and missile tests, reported BBC. “I told President Trump that at our meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he’s committed to denuclearisation,” South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong told reporters. “He pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests.”
The South Korean national security adviser credited Trump’s “maximum pressure policy strategy” along with international solidarity for reaching this point.
Chung added that Trump appreciated the briefing, and said he would meet the North Korean leader by May. Later, the US president said it was a “great progress”, but added that sanctions against North Korea will remain in place until an agreement is reached.
The talks are likely to be held by May, reports said. If the meeting takes place, it would be the first ever between leaders of the two countries.
Tensions between the North Korean regime and the United States escalated in 2017 after Pyongyang stepped up its nuclear efforts. Donald Trump had warned North Korea a number of times against boosting its nuclear weapons programme. The two country’s leaders frequently traded ridicule, insults and threats.
In July 2017, Pyongyang twice launched a long-range missile that could potentially reach the US mainland. In September 2017, it conducted its sixth atomic bomb test and in November 2017, North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile, possibly the country’s longest-range test yet. It claimed this one had the capability to reach all of America.
The latest sanctions against North Korea were announced on February 23. The United States Department of Treasury had called its action the “largest North Korea-related sanctions tranche to date”. Pyongyang had described the fresh sanctions as an “act of war”.