President Trump agrees to meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un by May

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Thursday, March 8, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump agreed on Thursday to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un by May after Kim pledged in a letter to refrain from further nuclear tests and move toward denuclearization, according to South Korean officials.

The surprise announcement was made by South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-Yong in a short statement outside the White House.

Chung said that in recent talks with South Korea, Kim Jong Un “expressed eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible.” The South Korean delegation delivered the letter from Kim to the White House Thursday, a senior U.S. official told NBC News.

There was no official confirmation of the meeting from the White House, but prior to the announcement, Trump dropped by the White House press room to hint at the major announcement to come, suggesting that he was supportive.

The South Koreans were at the White House Thursday to brief U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and other top officials on recent talks with the North Korean regime.

Earlier this week, Pyongyang signaled its willingness to hold talks with Washington on denuclearization, saying it will suspend its nuclear tests while talks are underway.

Asked about the developments earlier this week, Trump expressed optimism, saying he believed overtures from the North Koreans were “sincere,” attributing them to “very, very strong” sanctions and increased pressure from China.