In a surprising development in the Korea situation, US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un plan to meet in May, possibly even in Pyongyang, for nuclear disarmament talks.
Considering their verbal war and the numerous ballistic missile tests conducted by North Korea, a few months ago it would be considered science-fiction. However, thanks to the recent diplomatic thaw and the inter-Korean rapprochement of the past weeks, the reclusive leader will not only meet with the US but also with South Korean President Moon Jae-In.
“Possible progress being made,” Trump tweeted after the South Korean national security director, Chung Eui-yong, the head of a 10-member delegation that traveled to the North earlier this week. The two men met so that Trump could be briefed on the results of the historic meeting between North and South Koreans. Later on, Chung Eui-yong, in a meeting with White House reporters said that Kim has “committed to denuclearization” and to suspending nuclear and missile tests
North Korea appeared to confirm the summit plans. A senior North Korean diplomat at the United Nations in New York, Pak Song Il, told The Washington Post in an email that the invitation was the result of Kim’s “broad minded and resolute decision” to contribute to the peace and security of the Korean Peninsula.
Trump had previously said he was willing to meet Kim under the right circumstances but had indicated the time was not right for such talks. He mocked US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in October for “wasting his time” trying to talk to North Korea.
Tillerson said earlier on Thursday during a visit to Africa that, although “talks about talks” might be possible with Pyongyang, denuclearization negotiations were likely a long way off.
South Koreans responded positively to the news, with online comments congratulating Moon for laying the groundwork for the Trump-Kim talks. Some even suggested Moon should receive the Nobel Peace prize, although scepticism over previous failed talks remained.