Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2018
The South Korean delegation says Kim is “committed to denuclearization”, and that Kim is “eager” to meet Trump. According to South Korean Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong, Trump has agreed to the meeting which will take place “by May”.
South Korean national security adviser: "[Kim] expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible. President Trump appreciated the briefing and said he would meet Kim Jong-un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization." https://t.co/4hFR3QVIoi pic.twitter.com/tlYuljdH7p
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 9, 2018
- CHUNG SAYS NORTH KOREA WILL REFRAIN FURTHER MISSILE TESTS
- CHUNG SAYS KIM SHOWED EAGERNESS TO MEET TRUMP SOON
- CHUNG SAYS HE BRIEFED TRUMP TODAY ON HIS VISIT TO NORTH KOREA
Earlier this week, everyone got excited about what’s being billed as a “breakthrough” on the Korean peninsula. As a reminder, here are the headlines that hit early Tuesday morning:
- NORTH KOREA, SOUTH KOREA AGREE TO HOLD SUMMIT IN APRIL: ENVOY
- NKOREA OPEN TO DENUCLEARIZE IF REGIME SAFETY GUARANTEED: SKOREA
To be sure, that is in fact a big deal and it of course comes on the heels of North Korea’s various efforts to extend the proverbial olive branch over the past several months.
Also on Tuesday, the U.S. said it would sanction North Korea for the murder of Kim Jong Un’s half-brother Kim Jong Nam.
Fast forward to Wednesday evening, and Pyongyang was said to have promised to halt their ICBM program conditional on America’s “attitude,” Chosun Ilbo reported, citing several South Korean government sources.
Apparently, special envoys asked the North to suspend the program and release some American detainees. Pyongyang reportedly agreed to release the U.S. citizens as condition for dialogue with Washington.
That, briefly, is the series of events that led Trump to say on Thursday afternoon that South Korea would be making a “major announcement” this evening.
Here is the Wall Street Journal detailing how this came about:
The Trump administration’s top national-security officials huddled at the White House on Thursday with South Korean counterparts who said they were bringing a message to the U.S. from Pyongyang.
Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the White House national security adviser, as well as officials from the State Department and elsewhere met with South Korea’s national-security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, and intelligence chief, Suh Hoon. The two South Korean officials met earlier this week with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un.
Mr. Chung said he planned to deliver a message from Mr. Kim, according to South Korea’s semiofficial Yonhap news agency. He didn’t specify what the message was and made no comment after arriving in Washington.
Earlier, Seoul said that Mr. Kim was prepared to negotiate with Washington about setting aside his nuclear weapons in exchange for security guarantees.
Now, reports are trickling as to what this announcement will apparently entail. To wit:
(URGENT) N.K. leader invites Trump to meet: CNN https://t.co/3xV0zUeTVu
— Yonhap News Agency (@YonhapNews) March 8, 2018
BREAKING: North Korea leader Kim Jong Un invited US President Trump to meet in the message that was delivered by the South Korean delegation, according to a senior US official and a former US senior official. Via @eliselabottcnn @willripleyCNN
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) March 8, 2018
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 8, 2018
Reports now from CNN that Donald Trump received a hand delivered letter from Kim Jong Un from a South Korean delegation.
FYI, South Korea's National Security Council head and WH Press Security Sarah Sanders will hold a joint briefing in about 40 minutes. Stand by
— David Ingles (@DavidInglesTV) March 8, 2018
Your guess is as good as anyone’s as to how this will progress, but we would caution (again) that Kim’s motivations here are questionable.
Although Fox says there’s currently not a commitment by Kim to halt his nuclear testing, CNN sources claim that Pyongyang has indeed suggested the regime will cease provocations.
McMaster “will brief the UN Security Council on Monday regarding the situation and the talks with the South Korean delegation, a senior US official told CNN.
Trump will invariably claim credit for whatever comes out of this, but the bottom line, as we noted on Tuesday morning, is that Kim is never going to give up these weapons now that he has them and you’d be naive to think otherwise.
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) March 9, 2018
That’s not to say that “regime change” is the answer where that means some kind of military effort to overthrow him at the risk of sparking a catastrophic conflict. Rather, it’s just to say that there are no “good” answers here.
Still, the photo op of Trump and Kim having an awkward handshake will be something to behold.