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South Korean official says Trump has agreed to meet with Kim Jong Un

South Korean official said North Korea's Kim Jong Un is "committed" to denuclearization


Last Updated Mar 8, 2018 7:46 PM EST

In a shock announcement Thursday night, South Korea's national security adviser Chung Eui-yong said President Trump has agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and the North is "committed" to denuclearization. The meeting is intended to take place by May.

Chung said Kim "expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible," Chung said. "President Trump appreciated the briefing and said he would meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization."

Chung also said Kim Jong Un has agreed to refrain from nuclear testing, and routine joint military exercises between the North and South will continue as planned.

"I told President Trump that in our meeting, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he's committed to denuclearization," Chung said. "He pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests."

South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong (C) briefs reporters outside the West Wing of the White House on Thu., March 8, 2018, in Washington, D.C., announcing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has offered to meet President Trump.

Getty

Chung thanked Mr. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, the national security team and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, saying that Mr. Trump's leadership and his pressure policies, along with "international solidarity," led to this juncture.

The announcement was made at the White House after President Trump unexpectedly walked into the White House briefing room Thursday and told reporters that South Korea would be making a major announcement at 7 p.m. He added that he has spoken with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The president rarely -- if ever -- appears in the briefing room, tipping off reporters to how momentous the announcement must be.

"South Korea is going to be making a huge statement tonight on a big subject ... on a big subject ... on North Korea," said Mr. Trump, according to CBS News' Jacqueline Alemany. Journalists were instructed by the president to turn off their cameras. 

South Korean officials who met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un this week were to meet with Mr. Trump Thursday, Reuters reported, citing a South Korean presidential official.  National security adviser H.R. McMaster met with his South Korean counterpart Chung Eui-yong Thursday afternoon, to be briefed on North Korea's offer, according to a White House official. 

On Tuesday, South Korea said that the North had agreed to impose a moratorium on tests of nuclear weapons and missiles if it holds talks with the United States. South Korea's presidential national security director said Tuesday that North Korea said it's ready to have "heart-to-heart" talks with the United States on issues regarding the North's potential denuclearization and the normalization of relations between Pyongyang and Washington. 

CBS News' Margaret Brennan contributed to this report.

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