The announcement came from South Korean National Security Council chief Chung Eui-yong, who spoke to reporters at the White House Thursday evening. Chung added that Kim is committed to denuclearization and would refrain from nuclear or missile tests. President Trump, who has exchanged tough language with Kim, whom he called “Little Rocket Man,” had earlier made it clear he had ruled out direct talks unless North Korea took measurable steps towards ridding itself of nuclear weapons.
No sitting U.S. President has ever met a North Korean leader. Trump’s decision could very well be seen as a “Nixon in China” moment. President Nixon, a virulent anti-communist, made world headlines in 1972 when he announced a visit to China, which marked a new era for Sino-American. The move also led to an invitation from the Soviet Union and culminated in the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. As “only Nixon could go to China,” perhaps only Trump can go to North Korea.
Earlier in the day, Trump surprised reporters at the White House with news of a “major” announcement that South Korean officials would make a 7 p.m. local time. It has since been revealed that U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster will brief the UN Secretary Council on March 12.
In recent talks with South Korea, North Korean officials indicated that they would consider halting the country’s nuclear weapons program if the U.S. would guarantee the safety of Kim’s regime.