Today's Paper Latest stories Obits Newsletters Weather Puzzles/games
story.lead_photo.caption In this Aug. 10, 2017, file photo, a man watches a TV screen showing U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, during a news program at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea.

WASHINGTON — After months of trading insults and threats of nuclear annihilation, President Donald Trump agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un by May to negotiate an end to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, South Korean and U.S. officials said Thursday. No American president has ever met with a North Korea leader.

The South Korean national security director, Chung Eui-yong, told reporters outside the White House of the planned summit, after briefing Trump and other top U.S. officials about a rare meeting with Kim in the North Korean capital Monday.

The meeting would be unprecedented during seven decades of animosity between the U.S. and North Korea. The countries do not even have formal diplomatic relations. They remain in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice and not a peace treaty.

Chung said he had told Trump that Kim says he's committed to "denuclearization" and has pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests — providing a rare diplomatic opening after a year of escalating tensions over the North's tests. The rival Koreas have already agreed to hold a leadership summit in late April.

"He [Kim] expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible," Chung said. "President Trump appreciated the briefing and said he would meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization."

Chung did not say where Trump would meet with Kim. The White House said Trump's meeting with Kim would take place "at a place and time to be determined."

Trump took office vowing to stop North Korea from attaining a nuclear-tipped missile that could reach the U.S. mainland. He's oscillated between threats and insults directed at Kim and more conciliatory rhetoric. His more bellicose talk, and Kim's nuclear and missile tests, have fueled fears of war.

Trump, who has ramped up economic sanctions on North Korea to force it to negotiate on giving up its nukes, has threatened the pariah nation with "fire and fury" if its threats against the U.S. and its allies continued. He has derided Kim by referring to him as "Little Rocket Man."

After Kim repeated threats against the U.S. in a New Year's address and mentioned the "nuclear button" on his office desk, Trump responded by tweeting that he has a nuclear button, too, "but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"

On Tuesday after leaving Pyongyang, Chung had publicized that North Korea was offering talks with the United States on denuclearization and normalizing ties, but the proposal for a summit still came as a big surprise, and will raise questions about whether the two sides are ready for such a high-level meeting.

Chung, who credited Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign for the diplomatic opening, said Kim understands that routine U.S.-South Korea military drills "must continue."

The drills were suspended during the Winter Olympics recently hosted by South Korea, which provided impetus for the inter-Korea rapprochement. The drills are expected to resume next month. North Korea has long protested the military maneuvers south of the divided Korean Peninsula as a rehearsal for invading the North.

Trump had made a surprise visit to the White House press briefing room Thursday afternoon to alert reporters to the South Korean announcement. When asked whether the announcement would be about talks with North Korea, he told ABC reporter Jon Karl: "It's almost beyond that. Hopefully, you will give me credit."

On Tuesday, Trump had expressed both hope and skepticism about the reported offer of talks, which has yet to be confirmed, at least publicly, by the isolated North Korean government. While the path to a diplomatic resolution over the North's nuclear arsenal would be long and difficult, talks could dampen fears of war breaking out over what represents an emerging threat to the U.S. mainland.

Just a few hours earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is traveling in Africa, had said the adversaries were still a long way from holding negotiations.

Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

Sponsor Content


You must be signed in to post comments
  • mozarky2
    March 8, 2018 at 7:29 p.m.

    Finally, someone backed that little tinpot into a corner. Bathhouse Barry was certainly never up to the task. Thank you, President Trump, for neutralizing this brutal mass murderer.

  • RobertBolt
    March 8, 2018 at 7:42 p.m.

    The biggest blowhard meets the biggest liar, or vice versa.

  • RBear
    March 8, 2018 at 8:04 p.m.

    moz I think it was South Korea who deserves all the credit. Trump did nothing to pull this meeting together. Your twisted view of things is often so distorted you can't see the truth.

  • mozarky2
    March 8, 2018 at 9:20 p.m.

    RB, you self-righteous, ego inflated, ignoramus!
    Do you believe for one second that President Trump wasn't entirely responsible for this? When has SK ever accomplished something of this magnitude re NK? NEVER! If SK had been capable, it would have been done 50 years ago.
    It took a president with the courage to stand up to that murderous little b*****d; something Bathhouse Barry was totally incapable of doing.
    And all the while President Trump was telling Kim his days were numbered, pantywaists like you were curling into fetal positions, sucking your thumbs and wetting your panties!
    "Oh, noes! Trump is going to get us into a war we can't win"!
    What is it with you, RB? Do you enjoy being a sub so much that you invite my brutal rebuttal of your hysterical, illogical, unhinged posts? Is that it?
    Your hysteria, verging on the psychotic, is a symptom of your loser complex. Trump is now president, and you thought you "progs" had government sewn up forever! Gulags for conservatives were guaranteed once Hillary took office!
    OR, is it just the fact that today was such a terrible, horrible, really sucky day to be a democrat?
    Did you see President Trump's Cabinet meeting today? Did you find out about AG Sessions' announcement today? Have you seen the fallout from the Texas primaries? Have you seen the latest polling on Senate races?
    I would tell you to suck it, RB, but I'm afraid you'd take that as a compliment!

  • mozarky2
    March 8, 2018 at 9:49 p.m.

    Hey, RB, here's a guy who might need some help:
    An Ohio professor is reportedly under investigation for making a Facebook post calling for anti-gun activists to "storm the NRA headquarters" and "make sure there are no survivors."
    James Pearce, an adjunct professor at Southern State Community College in Hillsboro, wrote the post on June 13, the day after the terrorist mass shooting attack in Orlando.
    "Look, there's only one solution," Pearce wrote. "A bunch of us anti-gun types are going to have to arm ourselves, storm the NRA headquarters in Fairfax, VA, and make sure there are no survivors."
    He continued: "This action might also require coordinated hits at remote sites, like Washington lobbyists. Then and only then will we see some legislative action on assault weapons."
    I'm counting on you, RB! James Pearce really needs your help!
    Now, I know scary-looking rifles cause you to have psychotic episodes, but I'd be happy to lend you my bolt-action hunting rifle.
    Here's your chance, RB! It could be the last chance you ever get!

  • mozarky2
    March 8, 2018 at 9:56 p.m.

    I mean, there's nothing my gun-loving, liberty craving, patriotic friends fear more than a bunch of inexperienced adjunct community college professors with guns!
    PLEASE, RB, take me to the gulag NOW, for my own protection!

  • mozarky2
    March 8, 2018 at 9:59 p.m.

    I almost forgot!
    Thanks for the laughs, RB. I guess one thing we both share is our hysteria-your unbalanced mind, and my hysterical laughter!

  • mozarky2
    March 8, 2018 at 10:05 p.m.

    Yeah, RB, totally SK's doing:
    The statement tonight by South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong is so jaw-dropping in significance it has left the professional diplomatic apparatus stunned.
    A year of targeted and strategic geopolitical policy execution by President Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has resulted in North Korean leader Kim Jong-un accepting denuclearization and requesting a meeting with President Trump to achieve terms therein.
    The possibility of a willingly denuclearized Korean peninsular is such an astounding policy victory; it is difficult to conceptualize. Here’s the statement from South Korea’s Chung Eui-yong:
    “Good evening, today I had the privilege of briefing President Trump on my recent visit to Pyongyang, North Korea. I’d like to thank President Trump, the vice-president and his wonderful national security team, including my close friend General McMaster.”
    “I thanked President Trump that his leadership, and his maximum pressure policy together with international solidarity, brought us to this juncture. I expressed President Moon Jae-in’s personal gratitude for President Trump’s leadership.”
    “I told President Trump that in our meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he is committed to denuclearization. Kim pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests; he understands that the routine joint military exercises between the Republic of Korea and the United States must continue. And he expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible.”
    How does it feel to be an ignoramus, RB?

  • mozarky2
    March 8, 2018 at 10:09 p.m.

    Yeah, RB, with my keen intellect, insightful commentary, and rapier-sharp wit, it's difficult for me to conceptualize what it's like to be an ignoramus.
    SO, I'm turning to you, the expert!
    Please, fill me in!

  • RobertBolt
    March 8, 2018 at 10:10 p.m.

    Man, you really triggered the troll, RBear, and then you did a great job ignoring him as it went ballistic.