The Latest: Trump says North Korea deal would be ‘very good’
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on a planned summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (all times local):
President Donald Trump says a deal with North Korea, “if completed,” will be very good for the world.
Trump appears to be referring to North Korea agreeing to give up its nuclear weapons arsenal. That has been a key demand of the United States and other world powers.
Trump tweets Friday night: “The deal with North Korea is very much in the making and will be, if completed, a very good one for the World. Time and place to be determined.”
The president has agreed to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a historic face-to-face summit.
South Korean officials who recently met with Kim told their White House counterparts Thursday that Kim was eager to meet with Trump.
The White House says President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have discussed North Korea.
The leaders spoke Friday, the day after Trump agreed to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a date and time still to be determined.
The White House says Trump and Xi “welcomed the prospect” of dialogue between the U.S. and North Korea. They also committed to keep pressure and sanctions in place until North Korea takes “tangible steps” toward “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.”
Trump expressed hope that Kim will choose a brighter path for his country.
China is North Korea’s main benefactor. Trump has urged his Chinese counterpart to help pressure North Korea into abandoning its nuclear program.
The White House says the president won’t hold a highly-anticipated meeting with North Korea’s leader unless he takes “concrete steps” that match promises made ahead of the talks.
Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says North Korea has made promises to denuclearize, stop its nuclear and missile testing and allow joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises.
Sanders says President Donald Trump won’t have the meeting “until we see concrete actions that match the words and the rhetoric of North Korea.”
No time or place has been chosen. No sitting U.S. president has ever met with a North Korean leader.
White House legislative affairs director Marc Short says President Donald Trump discussed his decision to meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un with a “handful” of lawmakers, but he’s not revealing names.
Short says the administration is cautious about the meeting, but that Congress is responding with “excitement and encouragement.” He told reporters at the White House Friday that lawmakers believe that “relationships there have been headed in a dire direction.”
Short adds that while the White House hopes the meeting “bears fruit,” officials are “going to be cautious about it.”
No time and place has yet been set for what would be a historic meeting between Trump and Kim. No sitting U.S. president has ever met with a North Korean leader.
Vice President Mike Pence says North Korea’s desire to meet to discuss denuclearization is evidence that President Donald Trump’s “strategy to isolate the Kim regime is working.”
Pence says in a statement that the North Koreans are coming to the table even though the U.S. has made no concessions. He’s speaking the day after Trump agreed to a sit-down with Kim Jung Un and says that’s a testament to Trump’s strategy.
Pence reiterates that all sanctions will remain in place until the North “takes concrete, permanent, and verifiable steps to end their nuclear program.”
He says, “Our resolve is undeterred and our policy remains the same.”
The European Union is welcoming U.S. President Donald Trump’s readiness to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a “positive development.”
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, in a statement Friday, also welcomed another summit planned for April between Kim and South Korea’s president.
She said the EU is looking forward to the outcome of the talks and that the bloc supports all efforts to obtain “the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
South Korea’s national security director announced on Thursday that Trump had agreed to a proposal by Kim to meet by May to discuss the denuclearization of the peninsula.
China’s foreign ministry says it hopes all parties to the North Korean nuclear dispute will “show their political courage” in restarting negotiations, and pledges its support in working toward that goal.
Spokesman Geng Shuang on Friday said China welcomes and supports the “positive inter-Korean and U.S.-North Korea interactions.”
Geng told reporters at a regularly scheduled press briefing that China hope that all parties “will continue to strive for the political resolution and lasting peace and stability on the peninsula.”
China is North Korea’s most important ally and trading partner, although it has agreed to increasingly harsh United Nations economic sanctions in a bid to steer the North back to talks. In the 2000s, Beijing hosted several rounds of six-nation denuclearization talks involving the Koreas, China, Russia, Japan and the U.S.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is welcoming the announcement that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump have agreed to meet.
Lavrov was quoted by Russian state news agency Tass on Friday saying during a visit to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa that Russia considers the move “a step in the right direction.”
He went on to express hope that the agreement would be implemented and that it is “necessary for normalizing the situation around the Korean peninsula.”
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says a “dramatic” and surprising change of posture by Kim Jong Un led President Donald Trump to agree to a meeting with the North Korean leader.
Tillerson says the U.S. was taken aback at how “forward-leaning” Kim was in his conversations with a visiting South Korean delegation.
He said Friday it was the strongest indication to date of Kim’s “not just willingness but really his desire for talks.”
Tillerson said Trump made the decision “himself” after determining the time was right for “talks” — but not formal negotiations.
But he said it will take “some weeks” to arrange the timing for their meeting.
Tillerson spoke to reporters while traveling in Djibouti.
South Korea’s foreign minister says her government is consulting with the United States on the planned summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha says South Korea will make sure if the summit does take place, “it’s a meaningful meeting with good outcome.”
A summit between Kim and South Korea’s president in a Korean border village is planned at the end of April, and Trump’s meeting with Kim would be anticipated sometime in May at a place still undetermined.
Kang said Friday on an official visit to Hanoi, Vietnam, “the exact timing and the place will need a lot of consideration.”
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman, who has traveled several times to North Korea and is one of the few Americans to have met its leader, is praising President Donald Trump for planning a summit with Kim Jong Un.
Rodman tells The Associated Press he looks forward to returning to the pariah nation for “basketball diplomacy” in the coming months.
He says: “Well done, President Trump. You’re on the way to a historical meeting no U.S. president has ever done.”
Rodman adds, “Please send my regards to Marshal Kim Jong Un and his family.”
Rodman was speaking by phone soon after the planned summit was announced in Washington — a major surprise after a year of rising tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons.
Rodman met Kim in 2013 and 2014.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman says North Korea’s desire to talk with President Donald Trump shows that sanctions are “starting to work.”
Republican Rep. Ed Royce of California says the administration can “pursue more diplomacy, as we keep applying pressure.”
The committee was not briefed ahead of the announcement.
Some members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are skeptical.
Republican Cory Gardner of Colorado says the “price of admission” for Trump and Kim Jong Un meeting must be “complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
Democrat Ed Markey of Massachusetts says Trump should treat it “as the beginning of a long diplomatic process” — avoiding “unscripted” remarks that could derail it.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has spoken with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about President Donald Trump’s decision to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein says Tillerson spoke to both Abe and Trump about the decision before it was announced publicly at the White House.
Tillerson is in Ethiopia, where the surprise announcement came in the middle of the night. Only hours before, Tillerson had said the U.S. was a “long ways from negotiations” with the North and the State Department said the U.S. was not going to schedule talks “at this point.”
But Goldstein says Tillerson is “a very careful speaker. He knew exactly what he was saying today.”
Goldstein says the meeting “shows that the maximum pressure campaign is working.”
President Donald Trump says “Great progress” is being made, but sanctions on North Korea will remain in place as he prepares for what would be the first-ever meeting between the two countries’ leaders.
Trump is on Twitter after South Koreans broke the news that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wanted to meet with him. Trump says Kim “talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze.”
He also says North Korea has agreed to stop testing missiles. The messages were conveyed by a South Korean delegation that visited the White House Thursday.
Trump adds, “Meeting being planned!”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (shin-zoh AH’-bay) says he plans to visit the U.S. to hold talks with President Donald Trump in April.
He told reporters in Tokyo on Friday morning that he had spoken with Trump on the phone, and they had agreed to continue putting maximum pressure on North Korea until it takes concrete steps toward giving up its nuclear weapons program.
Abe says there is no change in that position.
His remarks came after Trump agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un by May to negotiate an end to its nuclear weapons program.
The White House says President Donald Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will be held “at a place and time to be determined.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a statement after a South Korean official broke the stunning news. Sanders says Trump “will accept the invitation to meet with” Kim.
She also says Trump “greatly appreciates the nice words of the South Korean delegation” and President Moon Jae-in
She adds that the U.S. looks “forward to the denuclearization of North Korea,” but says all sanctions will remain in place in the meantime.
President Donald Trump’s hastily reached decision to accept Kim Jong Un’s invitation for a meeting sent White House staff scrambling to prepare a public announcement.
Trump appeared in the White House briefing room shortly after 5 p.m. to tease the news, saying the South Korean government would make a “statement” two hours later.
Trump had wanted the statement to come from the White House press room, but aides moved it outside the West Wing, enabling a foreign official to break the historic news.
White House aides say they were unable to immediately provide additional information because they were not involved in the decision, which was entirely Trump’s.
The South Korean national security adviser made the roughly 2-minute announcement after nightfall near the entrance to the West Wing.
South Korea’s national security director says President Donald Trump has decided he will meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un “by May.”
Chung Eui-yong spoke outside the White House after a day of briefings with senior U.S. officials, including Trump, on the recent inter-Korea talks. Chung says Trump said “he would meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula.
Chung says Kim told the South Koreans he is “committed to denuclearization” and pledged that “North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests.”
The meeting would be the first of its kind between a leader of North Korea and a sitting president of the United States. The two countries have been in a formal state of war since the Korean War in the 1950s.