Trump - Kim Jong-un Meet On the Cards

IndraStra Global

Trump - Kim Jong-un Meet On the Cards

By IndraStra Global News Team

Image Attribute: South Korean national security director Chung Eui-yong, center, speaks to reporters at the White House in Washington, March 8, 2018, as Intelligence Chief Suh Hoon, left and Cho Yoon-je, South Korea's Ambassador to the United States listen. / Source: AP

Image Attribute: South Korean national security director Chung Eui-yong, center, speaks to reporters at the White House in Washington, March 8, 2018, as Intelligence Chief Suh Hoon, left and Cho Yoon-je, South Korea's Ambassador to the United States listen. / Source: AP

U.S. President Donald Trump hailed “great progress” in talks with North Korea after agreeing to meet Kim Jong Un, setting the scene for a historic, unprecedented encounter in the form of a summit.

It appears to be a major breakthrough after months of threats being exchanged between two historic adversaries over various media platforms. However, observers and analysts are skeptical about what these rapidly arranged talks can achieve.

The development was announced by South Korean National Security Director Chung Eui-yong, who was flanked by Intelligence Chief Suh Hoon and Cho Yoon-je, South Korea’s Ambassador to the US.

The statement said that the North had “expressed its willingness to hold a heartfelt dialogue with the United States on the issues of denuclearization and normalizing relations,” and that “while the dialogue is continuing, it will not attempt any strategic provocations, such as nuclear and ballistic missile tests.”

The White House confirmed the talks in a statement later, saying: “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. We look forward to the denuclearization of North Korea. In the meantime, all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain.”

South Korean National security adviser Chung Eui-yong, speaking outside the White House after the meeting, said: "I told President Trump that at our meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he's committed to denuclearization."

The invitation to talks, Chung said, was accompanied by an offer to suspend North Korean missile and nuclear tests while talks are underway, the condition that US officials have laid down for the start of any substantive talks.

Chung Eui-yong is expected to head to Moscow and Beijing next, while Suh will travel to Tokyo.

North Korea has previously stated it would not be willing to make its weapons development program part of any negotiations with the U.S. and has conducted more than a dozen missile tests in the past year, provoking a war of words between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim.

North and South Korea also agreed to a summit meeting between Kim and South Korea's Moon Jae-in in late April at South Korea’s Freedom House in the Panmunjom “truce” village in the demilitarized zone, the statement said, adding that the countries will install a hotline to contact one another for the first time since the division of the Korean Peninsula in 1945. The Trump administration had previously said it would consider talks with North Korea if the country conceded to "denuclearization," according to the Washington Post.

Japan, which saw North Korean missiles fly over its territory twice last year, is routinely distrustful of Pyongyang's motives, saying it must commit to giving up its weapons before any talks can take place.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed news of a Trump-Kim meeting, but said: "We will keep putting maximum pressure until North Korea takes concrete actions toward denuclearization."

With reporting by BBC, Radio Free Asia, The Guardian, and Reuters