WASHINGTON (AP) — The primary inkling that one thing large was afoot on North Korea got here from President Donald Trump himself: He popped his head into the White Home briefing room late Thursday afternoon to tease a “main assertion” coming quickly — from South Korean officers.
Then ABC reporter Jon Karl bumped into Trump in a West Wing hallway and the president let loose a bit of extra string. Requested if the announcement was about talks with North Korea, Trump provided: “It is virtually past that. Hopefully, you’ll give me credit score.”
Inside hours got here the exceptional information that after years of brinksmanship and threats of mutual obliteration, Trump had agreed to take a seat down with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un — a person he is lengthy derided as “Little Rocket Man.”
As a substitute of a televised addressed to the nation or a press convention within the stately East Room, the information finally was delivered by a South Korean nationwide safety official standing on the White Home driveway.
Chung Eui-yong learn his roughly two-minute, history-making assertion to cameras and shivering reporters gathered in a cluster.
Trump’s earlier teaser within the briefing room — his first identified go to there — despatched reporters who’d missed the presidential pop-in frantically dashing to seek out out what he’d stated as White Home officers scrambled to determine simply the place the announcement would happen. Preliminary plans for a briefing room announcement with White Home press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders have been scuttled in favor of the driveway.
A number of Pentagon officers stated shortly earlier than the announcement that that they had no data of what the South Koreans deliberate to announce. And U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, touring in Africa, simply hours earlier than stated the U.S. was “an extended methods” from direct talks.
Phrase was already out that the South Korean delegation that had simply returned from Pyongyang had spent the day briefing White Home officers on their conversations. And the delegates had already made public a lot of what they’d discovered.
Some shops quickly reported that Chung had delivered a message from Kim requesting a one-on-one assembly with Trump. However nobody was ready for what would come subsequent.
In his driveway assertion, Chung delivered the headline: Trump had accepted Kim’s invitation to fulfill by the tip of Might.
Virtually a half-hour after that information broke, the White Home weighed in with a press release from Sanders confirming that Trump had certainly accepted the invitation and the 2 leaders would meet “at a spot and time to be decided.”
Trump wrapped up the day’s chaotic occasions with, what else, a tweet: “Nice progress being made however sanctions will stay till an settlement is reached. Assembly being deliberate!”
Related Press writers Ken Thomas and Zeke Miller in Washington and Josh Lederman in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, contributed to this report.