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

Bigger and safer bridge to be built across the Nass

New two-lane bridge will be safer and be able to accommodate heavier commercial vehicles.

BVSD 54 superintendent responds to video threat

BVSD 54 sent out letter to parents after Smithers RCMP investigated threatening video posted online.

Snowfall warning in effect

A snowfall warning for the Bulkley Valley and Lakes District is in effect with high winds.

B.C.’s resident sustenance hunters pushed aside for trophy hunt

Northwest Fish Wildlife Conservation Association says new proposed regulation hurts moose population

Students survey Smithers on plastic use

How many plastic bags do you have stuffed in your closets and drawers at home?

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

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.

Fatal crash closes Highway 97 south of Prince George

A two-vehicle crash in the Cariboo has claimed the life of one person and sent another to hospital.

BCHL Today: Prince George avoids elimination with game five win

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Suspect arrested and charged for assault on autistic man

Parmvir Chahil has strong B.C. ties; two others charged with accessory after the fact

Uber self-driving crash video calls safety, rules into question

Experts say footage shows that vehicle’s sensors should have spotted pedestrian, initiated braking

Greens’ Elizabeth May, NDP’s Kennedy Stewart join B.C. anti-pipeline protest

The two politicians could be arrested for violating a court injunction

B.C. man shot by police in 2017 pleads guilty to string of offences

Kaymen Winter gets two years, opts for trial on two charges related to Salmon Arm car wash shooting

Are you going to turn off the lights for Earth Hour?

BC Hydro report says fewer people in the province are taking part, but feel it’s still important

Most Read