South Korean envoys announced at the White House yesterday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has invited President Trump to meet with him face-to-face to discuss nuclear disarmament and other issues.
In addition, Switzerland was home to bilateral talks between Washington and Pyongyang aimed at restarting stalled six-party negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.
"North Korea's price for giving up its weapons may be too high for the US to bear, such as the withdrawal of US forces from South Korea or the end of the US-South Korea Alliance", Frank Aum, a North Korea expert at the US Institute of Peace, told The Guardian.
South Korea's national security adviser Chung Eui-yong informed US press of the expected in-person conversation, and said the goal of the unprecedented meeting between the two countries' leaders is permanent denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The president later told his 48 million followers on Twitter that "great progress" was being made and that a meeting was "being planned".
The notoriously reclusive Kim, who rarely receives visitors and is not known to have traveled outside of North Korea since taking power in 2011, has spent the past year ramping up his country's missile and nuclear weapons development programs, in open defiance of the global community.
President George W. Bush took a more hardline approach.
"After (Trump)'s big tariff announcement", he explained, "he announced that there was going to be big news on North Korea and we just got it. Kim Jong-Un extended an official invitation to meet Trump".
South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong and other leaders may have brokered the meeting during talks with Kim.
Analysts say Trump's decision to accept Kim's invitation for a summit and to do it by May could be linked in part to a desire to claim a significant achievement in his most hard foreign policy challenge before the US midterm elections in November.
During the Roh Moo-hyun administration, he also accompanied then spy chief Kim Man-bok on a trip to North Korea to prepare for the 2007 summit between Roh and Kim Jong-il.
Last November, President Trump properly returned North Korea to the list of state sponsors of terrorism. This signals an important departure from the past when the North thoroughly rejected the U.S.
Trump has derided Kim as a "maniac", referred to him as "little rocket man" and threatened in a speech past year to "totally destroy" North Korea, a country of 26 million people, if it attacked the United States or one of its allies.
Hoare says the Chinese "got very worried" over the terrifying war of words between Trump and Kim past year.
Kim responded by calling the USA president a "mentally deranged US dotard".
"We welcome the change in North Korea's stance", Abe said.
The surprise announcement in Washington, DC, following an announcement by Chung on Tuesday that the North Korean leader had agreed to meet with South Korea's President Moon Jae-in in April.
We also don't know what North Korea wants in exchange for a meeting.
The announcement in the White House garden to hold the meeting was less than 24 hours after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said the US "is still far from negotiating" with Pyongyang.
Trump welcomed the move as "very positive", though Vice President Mike Pence said the USA position towards North Korea would not change "until we see credible, verifiable, and concrete steps toward denuclearization". "In this instance, Pyongyang has skillfully played on South Korea's fear of a military strike and hopes of reunification".
But South Korea's hosting of the Winter Olympics gave an unexpected window for diplomacy. The drills are expected to resume next month and had widely been seen as an obstacle to talks. "They only made the gesture because they feel the pressure badly and so this a good time", a second senior administration official said.
THE former president of MONGOLIA has offered to host the ground-breaking meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.
"The Chinese have come in for some criticism from North Korea on their willingness to impose sanctions". Tillerson said the decision to agree to the meeting was "a decision the president took himself". "If you do that, it will be the end of you-and your regime".
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