- New details emerged on Thursday night revealing how an unprecedented announcement about an invite for President Donald Trump to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un came to be.
- Trump reportedly heard a South Korean envoy was already meeting with officials in the West Wing on Thursday and summoned them to the Oval Office.
- The US president was supposed to meet the envoy on Friday. The official told Trump that Kim Jong-un wanted to meet him.
- Trump is believed to have immediately accepted the offer.
The announcement of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s invitation to meet President Donald Trump surprised some people on Thursday and apparently sent staffers in the White House scrambling, too.
South Korean intelligence officials were in Washington, DC meeting with their US counterparts, including national security adviser H.R. McMaster, when Trump heard they were in the West Wing, meeting with other officials, The New York Times reported Thursday night.
Trump, who was not scheduled to meet the South Korean National Security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, until Friday, invited him into the Oval Office, the newspaper said.
Chung then told Trump that Kim Jong-un indicated he was interested in meeting Trump.
Immediately, Trump said he would agree to the meeting and told Chung to announce it to the press, The Times reported. Chung was reportedly bewildered by the Trump’s suggestion, and called South Korean President Moon Jae-in to get his approval
While the developments quickly unfolded, White House officials had already discussed whether Trump would invite Kim Jong-un to the US, a senior administration official told The Times.
Early Thursday evening, Trump teased that the South Korean delegation would be making a “major announcement.”
“Hopefully, you will give me credit,” Trump quipped, according to ABC News journalist Meredith McGraw.
Chung read from a statement shortly after 7:00 p.m. ET: “I told President Trump that, in our meeting, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he is committed to denuclearization,” Chung said. “And he expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible.”
Following Chung’s remarks, Trump responded on Twitter: “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!”