The White House said on Monday it fully expected an unprecedented meeting between US President Donald Trump and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) leader Kim Jong Un to take place.
A South Korean delegation that visited DPRK last week said Kim expressed a wish to meet Trump and South Korea’s president to discuss denuclearization. DPRK has reported the South Korean delegation's visit, but no details of the talks.
DPRK's leader Kim Jong Un greets Chung Eui-yong, South Korea's national security adviser, in Pyongyang, DPRK, March 5, 2018.
Asked if the DPRK silence meant there was a chance the meeting between Trump and Kim would not take place, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said: "We fully expect that it will."
"The offer was made and we’ve accepted. North Korea (DPRK) made several promises and we hope that they would stick to those promises and if so the meeting will go on as planned," she told a regular briefing.
Earlier, South Korea said DPRK’s silence on summits with both the United States and South Korea was probably because of caution in preparing for the meetings, while US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington expected to hear directly from Pyongyang.
Tillerson said several steps would be necessary to agree on the location and scope of the talks, adding later that a "neutral" site would be needed.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson holds a press conference in Abuja, Nigeria, March 12, 2018.
"It’s very early stages. We’ve not heard anything directly back from North Korea (DPRK) but we expect to hear something directly from them," he said during a visit to Nigeria.
In an unexpected move last week, Trump agreed to hold a first-ever meeting with Kim, which South Korea said would take place by the end of May after a DPRK-South Korea summit in April.
Trump made the announcement after the head of a South Korean delegation that met Kim last week said the DPRK's leader had committed to denuclearization and pledged to refrain from nuclear and missile tests.
Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet at the truce village of Panmunjom straddling the Korean border, but a venue for the DPRK-US summit has yet to be decided.