After a meeting with China’s president on Wednesday, North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un pledged a commitment to denuclearization and a meeting with U.S. officials, which marks a major win in foreign diplomacy for President Trump, Reuters reports.
After two days of speculation, China and North Korea both confirmed that Kim had traveled to Beijing and met Xi during what China called an unofficial visit from Sunday to Wednesday. This marks the first time Kim has flown outside of North Korea for a trip since he assumed power in 2011.
Trump took to Twitter to say he had received a message from Xi on Tuesday night that his meeting with Kim “went very well” and that Kim looked forward to meeting with Trump.
“Look forward to our meeting!” Trump wrote, while adding: “In the meantime, and unfortunately, maximum sanctions and pressure must be maintained at all cost!”
The White House said on Tuesday that North Korea’s denuclearization pledge was evidence that the U.S.-led pressure campaign to force North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons was working.
“For years and through many administrations, everyone said that peace and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was not even a small possibility,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday. “Now there is a good chance that Kim Jong Un will do what is right for his people and for humanity.”
North Korea’s official media has made no mention of Kim’s pledge to denuclearize or the anticipated meeting with Trump, which is planned for some time in May.
China has traditionally been secretive North Korea’s closest ally but ties have been frayed by Kim’s nuclear weapons program and Beijing’s backing of tough U.N. sanctions in response.
China’s Foreign Ministry cited Kim in a lengthy statement as telling Xi the situation on the Korean peninsula was starting to improve because North Korea had taken the initiative to ease tensions and put forward proposals for talks.
“It is our consistent stand to be committed to denuclearization on the peninsula, in accordance with the will of late President Kim Il Sung and late General Secretary Kim Jong Il,” Kim Jong Un said, according to the ministry.
In Kim’s statement, he says he is willing to talk with the United States and hold a summit between the countries. “The issue of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace,” Kim said.
If the conversation does pull through and President Trump is actually able to talk to Kim, it will be the first time a sitting president has spoken to the leader of North Korea. This historic move would definitely be a historic marker for Trump’s presidency.