South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-Young met with President Donald Trump on Thursday night to hand deliver a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The letter was an invitation for the two leaders to meet, according to the U.S. officials.
After meeting with Trump, the South Korean National Security Adviser told reporters at the White House that Trump has agreed to meet with the North Korean leader. According to the South Korean official, Trump said “he would meet Kim Jong-Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula.
“North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he’s committed to denuclearization. He pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests,” said the South Korean National Security Adviser to reporters.
The letter and the announcement by South Korea’s National Security Adviser caught White House officials and senior Pentagon officials by surprise. U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with South Korean officials before President Trump agreeing to the meeting, according to media reports.
Trump tweeted, “Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!”
The United States and North Korea have not had formal diplomatic relations since the late 1950s.