TRUMAN DALY WRITES – Following months of tension on the Korean Peninsula, President Donald Trump has accepted an offer from Kim Jong-un to discuss denuclearization in North Korea.

Despite rapid escalation of North Korean missile testing and development over the past few months, South Korean officials announced that Kim expressed interest in meeting with Trump to discuss North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. In regards to the meeting, South Korean National Security Officer Chief Chung Eui-yong said “Kim Jong-un said he is committed to denuclearization… Kim pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests” (at least for the time being). Chung also stated that Kim expressed “eagerness” to hold a meeting with Trump, which comes as a surprise given the less than friendly relationship between the two.

Despite the North’s longstanding antagonistic nuclear goals, there have been recent instances of cooperation between the two Koreas. North Korea participated in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, a first for the country, and South Korean diplomats announced a new set of inter-Korean agreements culminating in a ministerial meeting to be held at the end of April.

South Korean political parties have responded positively to the announcement, with the ruling Democratic Party, the Party for Democracy and Peace, and Bareunmirae Party all voicing support for both Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Despite this, a co-chairman of the Bareunmirae Party expressed concern that the meeting “could be an extension of the North’s deceptive gambit.” Overall, the reception to the announcement has been overwhelmingly positive from all sides of the South’s political spectrum.

In a familiar fashion, Trump took to Twitter to announce that sanctions against North Korea will remain in place, despite the progress made toward denuclearization. This meeting, the first time that a U.S. president has met with a North Korean leader, is scheduled to take place before or around May.

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