Trump’s Thursday: How the president shocked everyone including his own administration

by WorldTribune Staff, March 11, 2018

South Korea’s national security adviser has said that U.S. President Donald Trump has been fully engaged since the beginning in negotiating with North Korea.

For all those hours of engagement, however, it took only about half a minute on Thursday (March 8), for Trump to set in motion a revelation that caught the world, including some in his own administration, by surprise.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Atlantic Aviation in Moon Township, Pennsylvania on March 10. / AP

Trump on March 8 had made a quick appearance in the White House press briefing room, which he has yet to speak from during his presidency, to tell some reporters that “South Korea’s going to be making a major statement at about 7 o’clock.”

Just after 7 p.m., South Korean national security adviser Chung Eui-Yong announced at the White House that Trump had agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

Only hours before, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said “We’re a long way from negotiations” with North Korea. “We just need to be very clear-eyed and realistic about it. I don’t know yet, until we are able to meet ourselves face to face with representatives of North Korea, whether the conditions are right to even begin thinking about negotiations.”

Related: Trump’s strategy on N. Korea: ‘Very, very different from past approaches and past presidents’, March 9, 2018

No sitting U.S. president has met with a North Korean leader since the Korean War.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told ABC’s “This Week” on March 11 that Trump is open to all possibilities on the future meeting location.

“Nothing’s being ruled out,” Shah said when asked whether a White House meeting between Trump and Kim could take place.

“We think Kim Jong-Un is the only partner in North Korea who has any authority that can make any decision,” Shah said. “So, he’s the only voice. He’s stated a commitment to denuclearization to South Korea, they’ve relayed that to us, so we’re open to this invitation.”

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said the U.S. would also continue its military exercises on the Korean Peninsula and he expects Pyongyang to halt its nuclear and missile testing.

Trump didn’t announce the meeting with Kim “for theater,” Pompeo said on “Fox News Sunday”, but to solve a problem.

“Never before have we had the North Koreans in a position where their economy was at such risk, where their leadership was under such pressure that they would begin conversations on the terms that Kim Jong-Un has conceded to at this point,” Pompeo said.

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