Late on Thursday, South Korea's National Security Director Chung Eui-Yong told reporters at the White House that Trump and Kim would meet. The South Korean leader visited Beijing in December on a trip aimed at thawing tense bilateral relations strained over Seoul's decision to host a USA missile defence system that Beijing sees as a threat to its own security.
"The offer was made and we've accepted", she said. "I believe they will honor that commitment!" He added that discussions around the meeting are still "in the very early stages" and "several steps will be necessary to agree on a location", according to Politico. "We've not heard anything directly back from North Korea but we expect to hear something directly from them", he said during a visit to Nigeria. He also briefed Xi on his recent trip to Washington to arrange a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim. Trump belittled Kim as "Little Rocket Man", while the North called Trump the "mentally deranged United States dotard".
"Talk is certainly better than war".
Then, a high-level delegation from Seoul paid a dramatic and symbolic visit to Pyongyang to meet the North Korean leader.
Asked in a Fox News interview due to air on Monday evening whether there was a real possibility of North Korea denuclearizing, US Vice President Mike Pence said: "We'll see, as the president often says".
"This potential meeting has been agreed to, there are no additional conditions being stipulated, but, again they cannot engage in missile testing, nuclear testing and they can't publicly object to the U.S". "Even though China's efforts did not produce immediate results", Global Times said, "the consistency of those efforts helped convince North Korea it had no future with nuclear weaponry and the only way out of its dilemma was to abandon nuclear weapons".
South Korean UN Ambassador Cho Tae-yul, who also attended the McMaster briefing, described the plans for talks with North Korea as a "once in a lifetime opportunity".
South Korea's minister for trade, Kim Hyun-chong, who has visited the USA twice in recent weeks to seek ways to minimize the damage to South Korean steelmakers, will depart for the U.S. again on Tuesday, a ministry spokeswoman said.
Chung met with President Xi Jinping, State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, demonstrating the importance Beijing places on developments.
As for the Trump-Kim talks, China expects "an uphill battle in the run-up to the meeting" but, the commentary promised, China "will play a large role in the process".
Previous meetings between North Korean and American officials have taken place in Pyongyang, including a 2000 meeting between US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Kim's father and predecessor Kim Jong Il. This summit may save the world from a nuclear disaster.
"Let me urge the DPRK to consolidate this rapprochement with a parallel opening to human rights review", said Tomas Ojea Quintana, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The South Korean newspaper cited an unidentified senior official in South Korea's presidential office.
Both countries have global reputations as mediators, and both played a role as members of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission helping to regulate relations between the two Koreas after the 1953 armistice that paused - but did not officially end - the Korean War.