US President Donald Trump will accept the offer from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to meet for the first time ever, according to the White House. However, US economic and military pressure on North Korea will remain.
The time and place for the meeting between the two firebrand leaders has yet to be officially determined. US leaders have made it clear that they will accept nothing less than the total denuclearization of North Korea to end the ongoing crisis.
“President Trump greatly appreciates the nice words of the South Korean delegation and President Moon [Jae In]. 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,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in a statement.
On Thursday, South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui Yong announced at the White House that Kim is willing to meet with Trump “as soon as possible.” Until then, Chung added, Kim is willing to “refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests,” noting that the meeting would take place by the end of May.
“I told President Trump that at our meeting [in Pyongyang] North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he’s committed to denuclearization.” Chung added that North Korea said they would have “no reason to possess nuclear weapons in in the absence of military threats to the DPRK and guarantees for the security of the North Korean regime.”
Meanwhile, a senior US administration official said during a conference call that verification must be part of any deal with North Korea for permanent denuclearization. “Obviously verification goes hand-in-hand with any kind of acceptable deal for the permanent denuclearization of North Korea and we will settle for nothing less than that outcome,” the official said.