WASHINGTON, DC (RNN) - President Donald Trump has agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by May to discuss denuclearization.
The announcement comes after a White House briefing by South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong that included an invitation from Kim.
“President Trump appreciated the briefing and said he would meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization,” Chung said outside the West Wing. "He (Kim) expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible.”
The White House confirmed the announcement, following a dizzying afternoon of developments.
"President Trump greatly appreciates the nice words of the South Korean delegation and President Moon. He will accept the invitation to meet with Kim Jong Un at a place and time to be determined," Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. "We look forward to the denuclearization of North Korea. In the meantime, all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain."
.@POTUS greatly appreciates the nice words of the S. Korean delegation & Pres Moon. He will accept the invitation to meet w/ Kim Jong Un at a place & time to be determined. We look forward to the denuclearization of NK. In the meantime all sanctions & maximum pressure must remain— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) March 9, 2018
The president didn't appear with Chung outside the White House, but soon took to his Twitter account.
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
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster will be briefing the U.N. Security Council about the quickly-developing situation on Monday.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in Ethiopia on Thursday, illustrated the sudden nature of Thursday's developments. He said the U.S. was "still a long ways from negotiations." The Associated Press reported he has since spoken about the announcement with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The South Korean delegation was at the White House to tell officials about the country's recent talks with North Korea.
Earlier this week, a South Korean delegation, led by Chung and National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon, went to Pyongyang. The delegation met with Kim.
It's believed to be the first time Kim had ever met a South Korean government official since taking power in 2011.
“The North Korean side clearly stated its willingness to denuclearize," the office of President Moon Jae-in said in a statement.
The North's conditions, according to the statement, include the elimination of the "military threat" to its territory and "its security guaranteed." It did not elaborate how that would be achieved, though the North generally considers the more than 20,000 American troops stationed in the South an unacceptable presence.
The North has made rapid progress in its drive for nuclear arms in the last few years. The country has conducted six confirmed nuclear tests since 2006, half of them since 2016.
Last year the North conducted its first successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile. In November it tested a missile, the Hwasong-15, believed to be capable of hitting anywhere on the U.S. mainland.
The North still needs to perfect the process of producing nuclear warheads small enough to fit onto missiles.
In January the CIA Director, Mike Pompeo, predicted it would take North Korea just "a handful of months" to achieve that and have the capability of striking the U.S. with nuclear weapons.
Copyright 2018 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.