Both the United States and North Korea have been using South Korea as a means of communication since relations between the nations of the Korean Peninsula sparked throughout the winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. On March 8, 2018, both the White House and South Korea released statements saying that President Trump has accepted Kim Jong Un’s invitation to meet through South Korean delegates, to officially discuss the potential for denuclearization.
However, since the announcement, reports have shown that this potential meeting is more tentative than actual. North Korea has yet to respond to the Trump administration’s acceptance to the meeting. The meeting is still highly plausible, but any confirmation of times or dates have made the possibility slightly more unsure.
In a press conference on Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “President Trump greatly appreciates the nice words of the South Korean delegation and President Moon. He will accept the invitation to meet with Kim Jong Un at a place and time to be determined. We look forward to the denuclearization of North Korea. In the meantime, all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain.” The meeting is partly due to the negotiations and communication of South Korea’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong. Chung has said South Korea is “optimistic” about the meeting.
Trump, who has dabbled between openness to delegation and more negative rhetoric towards Kim, i.e. his reference to him as “Rocket Man,” explained that his decision is based purely on his knowledge of Kim’s willingness to denuclearize. At 8 p.m. on Thursday, Trump tweeted: “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!” The meeting will take place in May, according to White House officials, but details of time and place are yet to be determined.
The complicated relationship between the U.S. and North Korea was sparked during the end of World War II and has continued to present day. The tensions have basically followed in accordance with tensions within the Korean peninsula. South Korea declared independence in 1950 which led to North Korea’s invasion and the beginning of the Korean War.
Although the war parted with an armistice-an agreement made by both sides to end fighting-many scholars say that the war never truly ended.
Since the ceasefire, the relationship between the U.S. has been complicated with aggressive tactics and North Korea’s continuous threat of nuclear weapon development. The conversations that sparked between North Korea and South Korea prior to the 2018 Winter Olympic games were the first steps toward peaceful council the countries had seen in over a decade. As the relationship within the peninsula has progressed, this meeting will allow the world to further analyze how much the progress will translate into relations between the U.S. and North Korea.