By Lawrence Audu
President Donald Trump has accepted an invitation to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the White House said Thursday, a meeting that would mark the first time a serving U.S. president has sat down with the leadership of the heavily militarized and diplomatically isolated country.
The announcement was made on Thursday by South Korean officials in Washington.
They passed a verbal message from Mr Kim to Mr Trump and said North Korea’s leader “committed to denuclearisation”.
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said it was “a milestone for peace”.
“If President Trump and Chairman Kim meet following an inter-Korean summit, complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will be put on the right track in earnest,” he said.
The meeting which is to take place as early as May, will address global nuclear threats and improve bi-lateral relations between the two countries.
South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong, who earlier this week met Mr Kim in Pyongyang, announced the development after briefing Mr Trump at the White House.
“President Trump appreciated the briefing, and said he would meet Kim Jong-un by May to achieve permanent denuclearisation,” he said.
Mr Trump said the development was “great progress” but that sanctions on North Korea would remain in place until a firm agreement is reached.
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
His press secretary Sarah Sanders said they would meet “at a place and time to be determined”.
However analysts remain sceptical about what such rapidly arranged talks – normally the culmination of years of diplomacy – can achieve.