Author: Emily Shugerman

Posted on: The Independent | March 13th, 2018


‘North Korea made several promises and we hope that they would stick to those promises,’ says Sarah Huckabee Sanders

The White House has said it fully expects President Donald Trump to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, though the North has yet to confirm the meeting.

Mr Trump said last week that he had accepted an offer to meet with Mr Kim – an agreement that would make him the first sitting US president to meet face-to-face with a North Korean leader. The offer to meet was passed to the White House through South Korean officials.

But by Monday, Pyongyang had yet to comment on Mr Trump’s announcement. Asked if the White House still expected the meeting to go forward, Press Secretary Huckabee Sanders said: “We fully expect that it will”.

“The offer was made and we’ve accepted,” she said. “North Korea made several promises and we hope that they would stick to those promises and if so the meeting will go on as planned.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed that the administration had not heard directly from North Korea, but said he expected to hear from them in the future. He added that discussions around the meeting are still “in the very early stages” and “several steps will be necessary to agree on a location,” according to Politico.

“I know those are all questions people are anxious to have answers to. I would say remain patient, and we’ll see what happens,” he said.

A spokesman for South Korea’s Ministry of Unification said the North Koreans were probably “approaching this matter with caution,» and that they «need time to organise their stance.»

South Korean officials told the White House last week that Mr Kim was eager to meet with Mr Trump, and would even suspend Pyongyang’s missile testing in order to do so. They also said Mr Kim would allow US-South Korean military exercises to continue in the months before the meeting, which was originally slated for May.

North Korean media has reported on the South Korean visit to the US, but not on details of the talks, according to Reuters.

Mr Trump boasted about the meeting on Twitter, writing that there was “great progress being made” and a “meeting being planned!”

But Mr Tillerson seemed somewhat surprised at the invitation, telling reporters that it was “the most forward-leaning report that we’ve have had in terms of Kim Jong-un’s – not just willingness – but his strong desire for talks”.

“What changed was his posture in a fairly dramatic way that, in all honesty, came as a little bit of a surprise to us,” he said.

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