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Kim Jong Un will talk denuclearization with Trump, officials say

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presides over a military parade held in Pyongyang to mark the 105th birthday of late founder Kim Il-sung on April 15, 2017. (Yonhap News/Newscom/Zuma Press/TNS)
April 09, 2018

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has agreed to meet at a summit with President Donald Trump, and North Korea is also willing to talk denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Trump Administration officials said Sunday night.

Officials said that the message from Pyongyang was delivered directly to the Trump Administration. The Wall Street Journal was first to report the news.

“The U.S. has confirmed that Kim Jong Un is willing to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” a senior administration official told the Washington Post, speaking anonymously.

The date and location of the summit have not been announced.

This would be the first time a sitting U.S. President has met with a North Korean leader.

North and South Korea are also slated to meet April 27 for a summit of their own.

Chinese state media recently confirmed that Kim traveled and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, in an unprecedented first visit outside his home country since becoming supreme leader in 2011.

The North Korea-China meeting came ahead of the meeting with South Korea, which will take place in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea. That meeting is said to prepare for the three-nation meeting with the United States, North and South Korea sometime before May.

The Kim-China meeting was at first shrouded in mystery, as it was not initially confirmed, but rather speculated that Kim had traveled to China for an unannounced meeting.

Trump had accepted an invitation from Kim on behalf of South Korean delegates to the U.S. last month month.

The White House later confirmed that President Trump and Kim would meet “sometime” before May, on the invitation of Kim himself.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) issued commentary about two weeks after that finally hinted at confirmation for the upcoming meeting between North Korea, the U.S. and South Korea.

A possible meeting between the nations was originally the product of South Korea’s efforts in February during the Winter Olympics.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in first invited North Korea to a summit in April in the DMZ, which separates the two nations on the Korean Peninsula.

Kim then invited President Trump, through a South Korean envoy, to a future meeting.

While many U.S. officials are skeptical about North Korea following through with any formal meeting, supporters of diplomacy say that even the prospect of talks is an encouraging change.

For the better part of last year, North Korea continued to defy international officials’ pleas to cease countless nuclear missile and bomb tests, even going so far as to threaten the U.S. territory of Guam after fierce words from Trump demanding a halt to their increased military activity.

South Korea has stated that denuclearization could be a topic of discussion during the formal meeting of the nations. But while North Korea seems to have at least paused its nuclear activity for the time being, the rogue nation has not confirmed any sort of agenda for the meeting at this point, and giving up their prized nuclear weapons indefinitely be an unexpected result.