In an announcement at the White House Thursday night, South Korean National Security Director Chung Eui-yong confirmed that North Korean dictator has extended an invitation to President Donald Trump to meet “as soon as possible,” and that Trump has accepted.
Chung met with Kim Jong-un at an unprecedented meeting of officials from the two Korean states on Monday. Upon returning to South Korea, he confirmed to news outlets there that Kim had agreed to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in at a meeting on the south side of the border.
In his short statement in Washington on Monday, Chung reiterated his claim that Kim “said he is committed to denuclearization. He said that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear tests.”
Kim also “expressed his willingness to meet President Trump as soon as possible,” Chung added.
“President Trump … said he would meet Kim Jong-un by May to achieve total denuclearization,” he continued. He did not provide any specifics on time or potential location for such a meeting.
Chung described both himself and Trump as “optimistic about continuing a diplomatic process to test the possibility of a peaceful resolution.”
“The Republic of Korea, along with the United States, Japan, and our many partners around the world, remain fully and resolutely committed to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” he added, while asserting that “the pressure will continue until North Korea matches its words with concrete actions.”
Kim’s meeting with Moon would make him the first North Korean dictator to visit South Korea in history. His meeting with Trump, if it occurs, will also be unprecedented.
Kim is the grandson of founding North Korean tyrant Kim Il-sung and father of preceding dictator Kim Jong-il. In talks with Chung and the South Korean delegation, Kim reportedly claimed denuclearization was his father’s “dying wish,” despite Kim Jong-il’s near-total commitment of the North Korean economy to developing nuclear weapons, rather than much-needed humanitarian aid for the millions of citizens starving in his country.