It looks like all those threats and petty jabs have paid off. Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump have agreed to meet face to face sometime before May. A South Korean delegation, including President Moon Jae-In who has been instrumental in brokering this diplomacy, travelled to North Korea and sat for peace talks with their Northern counterparts earlier this week. During those meetings, the North expressed a willingness to meet with the United States and even denuclearize if the Americans could guarantee their safety.
At the end of the trip, Kim Jong Un extended an invitation through South Korea to a personally meet with Donald Trump. The invitation was delivered by South Korean national security adviser Chung Eui-yong directly to the president Thursday and Trump officially accepted soon after. Moon called the future meeting “a miracle.”
WATCH: Full statement from South Korean official: North Korea’s Kim Jong Un says he is eager to meet President Trump, and President Trump says he would meet Kim by May “to achieve permanent denuclearization.” https://t.co/j22SqkRhBS pic.twitter.com/Modp4T3IUy
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 9, 2018
“If President Trump and Chairman Kim meet following an inter-Korean summit, complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula will be put on the right track in earnest,” Moon said.
The South Korean president has been a key force in this new North Korea diplomacy. Moon seems to have expertly negotiated the social dynamics of both powers. A human rights lawyer whose parents fled from the North during the Korean War, brokering peace between the Koreas has been a life-long goal for Moon. He suggested the joint Korean team at the 2018 Olympics after the North expressed an interest in attending and he attributes small victories in the warming of NK to Donald Trump, all while consistently advocating for peaceful talks between two often erratic world leaders.
If this meeting takes place as planned, Donald Trump will be the first sitting U.S. president to meet with a North Korean leader. Who would have thought when Trump was calling Kim “rocket man” and bragging about the size of his button that he would be the first president to hold such a historic meeting?
Thursday night, Trump actually tweeted something productive about North Korea and its leader, calling their shift in position on denuclearization “great progress” but remaining firm on the strict sanctions imposed on the country earlier this year as long as negotiations are ongoing.
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
The when and where of the meeting is TBD currently. While it will likely take place within the next month or so, the location could prove to be tricky. Donald Trump travelling to Pyongyang (North Korea’s capital) is out of the question, according to political commentators, so some sort of common ground would need to be established. There is speculation that South Korea is the safest place for the two leaders to meet, possibly on Jeju Island which is sometimes referred to as the “Island of Peace.”