After months of trading insults and threats of nuclear annihilation, President Donald Trump agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un by the end of May to negotiate an end to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, South Korean and US officials said Thursday.
Earlier Thursday, Chung had briefed Trump and other top USA officials about a rare meeting with Kim in the North Korean capital.
"There's even a North Korean movie with the US President coming to North Korea".
The meeting, set to occur "by May", will make Trump the first ever US President to meet with a North Korean leader.
The new development would put two leaders who have repeatedly insulted, threatened and dismissed each other in the same room, possibly in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.
Any meeting with a U.S. leader would indicate that North Korea is a valid, nuclear state and create the perception that it was being treated as "an equal" by Washington, Lewis said.
Still, the White House indicated that planning for the meeting was fully on track.
"We don't know all the details yet, but because North Korea is an economically-starved country, the invitation is BYO-everything", the host added. "Time and place to be determined", Trump tweeted late Friday.
Kim responded by calling the USA president a "mentally deranged US dotard".
The two Koreas also agreed to hold summit-level talks at the border village of Panmunjom, located in the heavily guarded Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), which acts as the de facto border between North and South Korea. He may want to dial down tensions until the US gets a new president. When asked by an ABC reporter if it was about talks with North Korea, he replied: "It's nearly beyond that".
Trump took to Twitter on Thursday night to laud the announcement.
Still, some lawmakers and foreign policy experts voiced skepticism about the wisdom of agreeing to a summit without preparations by lower-level officials, particularly given the lack of trust between the two sides. Skeptics don't think Kim will ever feel safe without a nuclear deterrent, and the best Trump can hope for is a freeze on North Korea's missile program that will remove the direct threat to the USA mainland.
"I suspect and I fear that the North Koreans will say to Trump "come to Pyongyang" and if he does that then the optics are all wrong". There's also a China angle, but I'm not smart enough to figure that one out.
Some American officials are voicing concern that the talks will weaken the global pressure campaign against North Korea. More conspiratorial theories centered on Russian leader Vladimir Putin and/or Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who have influence over Kim, bailing out Trump from domestic troubles.
Just hours before the summit announcement, Tillerson had said that the United States was "a long way" from talking directly to North Korea. "Otherwise we are setting ourselves up for a major diplomatic failure".
Eui-yong stated Trump would meet with Kim to permanently denuclearize. But Trump, in just his second year in office and facing a similarly strong-willed leader eager to directly break a diplomatic deadlock, could be in a better position to cut a meaningful deal with North Korea than Clinton was at the end of his presidency. He said either the regime is confident in developments in its nuclear and missile programs - allowing it to negotiate from a newfound position of strength - or the country is feeling pressured by rounds of hard-hitting worldwide sanctions, compounded by calls from internal elitist factions looking for small, temporary concessions in exchange for the promise of possible future gains. It also draws attention to the rift between the USA and South Korea over the usefulness of talks.