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

Coastal GasLink gets interim injunction against Unist’ot’en

The LNG pipeline company can start work Monday with enforcement approved by court.

They’re engaged!

Birthday party turns into engagement party for Doug and Matilda

Hampers a chance to help in the Christmas spirit

SCSA sends around 350-400 hampers to the area from Witset to Telkwa.

Volunteers create Christmas magic at Santa’s Breakfast

PHOTOS: For the past 19 years, a local event helped remind us that Christmas is a time of giving.

Most intervenor requests in crucial natural gas pipeline case rejected

At stake is whether gas pipeline to LNG Canada plant should fall under federal jurisdiction

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Mike Duffy can’t sue Senate over suspension without pay, judge rules

Duffy’s lawsuit sought more than $7.8 million from the upper chamber

Most Read