Tillerson changes tune after Trump accepts meeting with North Korea's Kim


US President Donald Trump had said on Thursday he was prepared to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the first US-North Korea summit, marking a potentially dramatic breakthrough in nuclear tensions with Pyongyang.

The White House's surprise announcement Thursday that President Trump had agreed to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "at a place and time to be determined" has upended expectations about how disarmament talks with the regime would unfold.

A day after the bombshell announcement that the USA and North Korean leaders would meet before the end of May, Trump's Vice President Mike Pence said Washington's efforts to isolate Kim had been vindicated.

South Korean officials, briefing Trump at the White House on Thursday about their recent meeting with Kim in Pyongyang, relayed that the North Korean leader expressed a commitment to denuclearization, a top demand of Trump and USA allies.

Kim had "committed to denuclearization" and to suspending nuclear and missile tests, Chung said.

North Korean leaders have sought face-to-face talks with consecutive USA presidents, who have rebuffed the idea as an effort to achieve strategic parity that does not exist. "Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time". Will there be space for a face-saving way out for both Kim Jong-un and Trump if the summit falls flat?

"The United States is going to continue that maximum pressure campaign". "President Moon has spent a bad streak having to preside over national security meetings at sunrise every time we fired rockets", said Kim delegates. The White House says it will happen sometime within the next few months. Trump was a "senile dotard" and the North was snapping off regular weapons tests in its quest for a viable nuclear arsenal that can threaten the USA mainland.

Japanese Prime Minister attributed the latest outcomes to continued pressure on the North by Japan, South Korea and the United States.

Past negotiations with North Korea foundered when the South, overeager to achieve an agreement, paid insufficient attention to the details.

But CNN National Security analyst Samantha Vinogard said "There is no way that President Trump can be ready, by May, to have a high stakes negotiation on denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula".

In the past North Korea has indicated that security guarantees mean the departure of USA forces from the Korean peninsula and the end of a mutual defense treaty with the South.

I don't think we know that Sarah Sanders either knew what she was talking about in the just concluded press briefing or whether what she says will remain operative through the day or the week.

World leaders welcomed prospects for possible thaw in the long standoff over North Korea's nuclear weapons programme on Friday after U.S.

Until this week, Rodman was believed to be the only person who had met both Trump and Kim.

Trump's hastily reached decision to accept the meeting sent White House staff scrambling.

For at least two decades, leaders in North Korea have been seeking a personal meeting with an American president.

As Mr Trump's administration ramped up its "maximum pressure campaign" on North Korea over the a year ago, Mr Tillerson was one of the more enthusiastic advocates within the cabinet for trying to talk to the North Koreans, even as other officials warned Trump of the risks of rewarding Kim too soon.

North and South Korea, where the US stations 28,500 troops, are technically still at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a ceasefire, not a truce.

Even observers who credit Trump's hardline stance with setting the stage for talks said they are waiting to see if this time is different.

After North Korea threatened a ballistic missile strike on the USA territory of Guam, Trump vowed "fire and fury like the world has never seen".

Numerous U.N. resolutions already require North Korea to cease its nuclear and missile tests and to abandon its nuclear and missile programs in a complete, verifiable, irreversible manner.