South Korean national security director Chung Eui-yong, center, speaks to reporters at the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 8, 2018, as intelligence chief Suh Hoon, left and Cho Yoon-je, the South Korea ambassador to United States listen. President Donald Trump has accepted an offer of a summit from the North Korean leader and will meet with Kim Jong Un by May, a top South Korean official said in a remarkable turnaround in relations between two historic adversaries. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Trump teases big news; it arrives in the dark, on driveway

President Donald Trump has accepted an offer of a summit from the North Korean leader and will meet with Kim Jong Un by May

The first inkling that something big was afoot on North Korea came from President Donald Trump himself: He popped his head into the White House briefing room late Thursday afternoon to tease a “major statement” coming soon — from South Korean officials.

Then ABC reporter Jon Karl ran into Trump in a West Wing hallway and the president let out a little more string. Asked if the announcement was about talks with North Korea, Trump offered: “It’s almost beyond that. Hopefully, you will give me credit.”

Within hours came the remarkable news that after years of brinksmanship and threats of mutual obliteration, Trump had agreed to sit down with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un — a man he’s long derided as “Little Rocket Man.”

Instead of a televised addressed to the nation or a press conference in the stately East Room, the news ultimately was delivered by a South Korean national security official standing on the White House driveway.

In the dark.

Related: Trump says he’ll meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un

Chung Eui-yong read his roughly two-minute, history-making statement to cameras and shivering reporters gathered in a cluster.

Trump’s earlier teaser in the briefing room — his first known visit there — sent reporters who’d missed the presidential pop-in frantically rushing to find out what he’d said as White House officials scrambled to figure out just where the announcement would occur. Initial plans for a briefing room announcement with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders were scuttled in favour of the driveway.

Several Pentagon officials said shortly before the announcement that they had no knowledge of what the South Koreans planned to announce. And U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, travelling in Africa, just hours before said the U.S. was “a long ways” from direct talks.

Word was already out that the South Korean delegation that had just returned from Pyongyang had spent the day briefing White House officials on their conversations. And the delegates had already made public much of what they’d learned.

Some outlets soon reported that Chung had delivered a message from Kim requesting a one-on-one meeting with Trump. But no one was prepared for what would come next.

In his driveway statement, Chung delivered the headline: Trump had accepted Kim’s invitation to meet by the end of May.

Almost a half-hour after that news broke, the White House weighed in with a statement from Sanders confirming that Trump had indeed accepted the invitation and the two leaders would meet “at a place and time to be determined.”

Trump wrapped up the day’s chaotic events with, what else, a tweet: “Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!”

Related: New year, new start? Not for President Trump


Associated Press writers Ken Thomas and Zeke Miller in Washington and Josh Lederman in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, contributed to this report.

Jill Colvin, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Tires, a couch and an oven door found on Wantage Road clean up

Prince Rupert volunteers cleared bottles, bags and other items on the dirt road on March 18

Prince Rupert teams off to a strong start at Junior All Native Tournament

Under-17 and Under-13 boys both registered early victories

Smithers pellet plant ready to build

Pinnacle Renewable Holdings and West Fraser Timber approve construction of plant in Smithers.

Dan Hendrickson goes all in to win Poker Nights tournament

Prince Rupert Curling Club’s annual poker tournament raised approximately $700

Métis Society opens office on Fraser Street

There are 350 people who identify as Métis in Prince Rupert according to the 2016 Census

MVP of the Week: Leaving it on the mat

Tatum Acker turned her newfound passion for wrestling into a zone championship

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

RCMP officer looking for distracted drivers gets hit by truck

Road safety investigator clipped by trailer while patrolling busy intersection

YVR wants you to help name three new puppies

Say hello to the Vancouver Airport’s new assistance pups

Suspect who attacked autistic man in Ontario could be from B.C.’s south coast: police

29-year-old man was sent to hospital with serious injuries

Privacy watchdog to explore Facebook leak

Canadian expert says his analytics company helped Trump campaign capitalize on private Facebook info

Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle

Ride-hailing company suspends all road-testing of such vehicles in U.S. and Canada

Spring snow melt uncovers dirty needles in B.C. city

Vernon residents are upset with number of needles being found around town with spring melt

US would host majority of games at 2026 World Cup

A decision on the winning bid will be made June 13 at the FIFA Congress in Mexico

Most Read