(CN) – South Korea’s national security director announced Thursday night that President Trump has accepted an invitation by South Korea to meet directly with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, following talks between South Korea and Pyongyang.
The meeting — to take place at an unspecified time in the next three months — would be the first of its kind between a leader of North Korea and a sitting president of the United States, as the two countries have been in a formal state of war since the Korean War in the 1950s.
Speaking outside the west Wing of the White House, Chung Eui-yong said North Korea’s Kim Jong Un “stressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible.”
The South Korean official briefed with senior U.S. officials, including Trump, on the recent inter-Korea talks, and he told reporters Trump appreciated the greeting from Un and would meet with him to achieve “permanent denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula.
North Korea has also signaled that it would not conduct any more of its highly contentious missiles tests before the talks.
“The Republic of Korea, along with the United States, Japan, and our many partners around the world remain fully and resolutely committed to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Chung said. “Along with President Trump, we are optimistic about continuing a diplomatic process to test the possibility of a peaceful resolution.
“The Republic of Korea, the United States, and our partners stand together in insisting that we not repeat the mistakes of the past, and that the pressure will continue until North Korea matches its words with concrete actions,” he added.
Word of the pending announcement came as a surprise on an afternoon that had already seen Trump announced new tariffs on steel and aluminum and a presidential meeting with video game makers to discuss the gun violence depicted in their products.
It was Trump himself who alerted reporters during his first visit to the White House press briefing room.