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

Tom Pyper’s life on the South Saskatchewan Pipeline

Red Deer man looks back on his time working on the Cantuar pump station

Central Alberta Theatre is gearing up to present Neil LaBute’s Some Girl(s)

Opening night is April 20th with shows running through to May 5th.

Burman U prof publishes international development book

The Development Trap: How Thinking Big Fails the Poor looks to challenge perceptions

WATCH: Check out this week’s What’s Up Wednesday

A weekly recap of the week in news

WATCH: Red Deerian receives award for aiding RCMP officer in arrest

Lonnie Amundson, rugby player, tackled a fleeing suspect to help ailing officer

Could facial scans and fingerprints make you unhackable?

New biometrics capabilities could be a game-changer for those trying to get on your accounts

Driving Change: A B.C. man’s charitable trip across Canada

A Kelowna man, his bus, and his mission for positive change across our country

Case of teacher secretly filming teens reaches top court

Acquittal of teacher, Ryan Jarvis, who secretly videoed teens ‘dangerous,’ top court told

Why a 14-year-old will lead the charge at annual marijuana protest on the Hill

Marijuana enthusiasts have long been circling April 20 on their calendars as annual day of cannabis

RCMP say too early to know what happened in Broncos crash

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said collission very complex

Conservative MP wants feds to close loophole for illegal border crossers

Immigration advocates call on government to suspend Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement

Alberta university criticized for honouring David Suzuki

University of Alberta plans to bestow environmentalist with honourary degree

Lance Armstrong settles $100M lawsuit with U.S. government

Disgraced cyclist reached $5-million settlement with sponsor U.S. Postal Service

Black Press Media acquires two new Alaska newspapers

New Media Investment Group to acquire the Akron (OH) Beacon Journal while Black Press Media takes on daily newspapers in Juneau and Kenai Alaska

Most Read