North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un extended an invitation to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump, and the president agreed that the two would meet by May, South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong announced at the White House on Thursday night.
Chung announced that Trump would meet with Kim by May to "continue the goal of denuclearization."
Kim, added Chung, understands that joint military exercises between South Korea and the U.S. will continue. He also claimed to be "committed to denuclearization."
"He (Kim) pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear missile tests," said Chung said, adding that Trump's "leadership" and "maximum pressure" brought us to this juncture.
The White House confirmed that Trump would accept Kim's invitation to meet.
“He will accept the invitation to meet with Kim Jong Un at a place and time to be determined," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. "We look forward to the denuclearization of North Korea. In the meantime, all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain.”
Trump himself tweeted about the expected meeting with Kim later on Thursday.
“Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!” he wrote.
Last week Pyongyang for the first time signaled its willingness to return to the negotiating table. On Tuesday, South Korea said its neighbor is willing to talk to the United States about giving up its nuclear weapons.
Trump later said he believes that North Korea's offer to hold denuclearization talks is "sincere." Vice President Mike Pence, meanwhile, said Washington needed to see North Korea taking concrete steps toward denuclearization.
North Korea has been seeking to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Trump and Kim have taunted each other through the media in recent months.
In the most recent of its ongoing missile tests, North Korea launched a Hwasong-15 missile, a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which officials said can fly over 13,000 km (8,080 miles).
Pyongyang said following the launch that it had test-fired its most advanced missile, putting the U.S. mainland within range, and also declared itself to be "a responsible nuclear power".