President Trump on Thursday told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that he hopes an invitation to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signals a chance for a “brighter future” for the North Korean people.
The White House said Trump and Abe spoke on the phone to discuss ongoing efforts to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear program. The call took place as a South Korean official prepared to announce that Trump would meet with Kim later this year.
“President Trump expressed his hope that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s invitation signals his desire to give the North Korean people a brighter future,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.
Trump and Abe agreed that a maximum pressure campaign on North Korea led to the invitation, and vowed to continue that strategy, the White House said.
South Korean national security adviser Chung Eui-Yong announced outside the White House on Thursday night that Trump had agreed to meet with Kim by May in an effort to get Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
The White House said the meeting will take place “at a place and time that’s to be determined.”
Trump said after the announcement that sanctions on North Korea would remain in place until an agreement is reached for Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
In addition to his conversation with Abe, Trump met earlier Thursday with Chung, South Korean intelligence director Suh Hoon, national security adviser H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary James Mattis and other U.S. officials to discuss relations with North Korea.