South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-Yong announced at the White House Thursday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is committed to denuclearization and is planning to talk with President Donald Trump.
Chung was part of the South Korean delegation that met with North Korean officials, and he said that Kim is willing to halt his nuclear program and begin talks with South Korea and the U.S. as early as May.
"North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he's committed to denuclearization," Chung said. "Kim pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests. He understands that the routine joint military exercises between the Republic of Korea and the United States must continue, and he expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible."
"President Trump appreciated the briefing and said he would meet Kim by May to achieve permanent denuclearization," Chung added.
Chung credited Trump’s leadership for putting pressure on the North and forcing them to the negotiating table.
"I would like to thank the president, the vice president and his national security team, including my close friend, General McMaster," Chung said. "I explained to President Trump that his leadership and his maximum-pressure policy together with international solidarity brought us to this juncture."
The White House made a statement thanking Chung for his words and said he would meet with Kim at some point.
"President Trump greatly appreciates the nice words of the South Korean delegation and President Moon," press secretary Sarah Sanders said. "He will accept the invitation to meet with Kim Jong Un at a place and time to be determined. We look forward to the denuclearization of North Korea. In the meantime, all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain."
Trump tweeted Thursday night that Kim had discussed denuclearizing, not just freezing his program, and that a meeting is being planned.
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
Chung also said South Korean President Moon Jae-In is thankful for Trump’s actions.
"I expressed President Moon Jae-In’s personal gratitude for President Trump's leadership," Chung said.
Chung added that Japan and other partners are also committed to denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, which Trump has said is his goal.
"The Republic of Korea along with the United States, Japan, and our many partners around the world, remain fully and resolutely committed to the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," Chung said. "Along with President Trump, we are optimistic about continuing a diplomatic process to test the possibility of a peaceful resolution."
Chung finished by saying that they will not repeat past mistakes and, instead, will continue to exert pressure on North Korea.
"The Republic of Korea, the United States, and our partners stand together in insisting that we not repeat the mistakes of the past, and that the pressure will continue until North Korea matches its words with concrete actions," Chung said.
UPDATE 8:25 P.M.: This story has been updated with the White House's statement and Trump's tweet.