United States surprised at N.Korea talks offer, says Tillerson

United States surprised at N.Korea talks offer, says Tillerson

The president on Thursday accepted Mr. Kim's request for talks about denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, agreeing to suspend nuclear and missile tests in exchange for the historic summit.

"We can't let a madman with nuclear weapons let on the loose like that", Trump told Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte during an April phone call.

The North's official party newspaper dismissed Trump's "swaggering" as nothing but the "spasm of a lunatic" frightened by North Korea's power, and the "bark of a rabid dog".

Pence stressed that the "maximum pressure campaign will continue until North Korea takes concrete, permanent, and verifiable steps to end their nuclear program".

Standing in front of the White House, South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong announced the first ever meeting between a U.S. president and a North Korean leader, which he said would take place by the end of May.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Trump, in a call on Thursday, promised to continue to enforce sanctions until Pyongyang took "tangible steps. towards denuclearisation", the White House said in a statement.

"We are moderately bearish on gold prices, and see the rising yield environment as a headwind", analysts at Societe Generale said in a note.

"A meeting is being planned", Trump said on Twitter after speaking to Chung, setting up what would be his biggest foreign policy gamble since taking office in January 2017.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders put the media in their place Friday over their soft spot for North Korea.

North Korea has not yet responded to the news of Trump's decision to meet with Kim.

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Pence added the US had made "zero concessions" and "consistently increased the pressure" on the North Korean leader.

Some observers noted that even while the South Korean delegation was in town, Trump signed off on his plan to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports - a move that could impact precisely those allies involved in keeping up the pressure on North Korea.

Hours before the news broke, Tillerson had said direct talks between the U.S. and North Korea were still in the distant future.

European Union spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic also welcomed reports that the North is willing to discuss ending its nuclear programme and halt testing while talks take place, saying it could prepare the ground for a negotiated resolution.

Sanders' words on Friday also marked the White House's first comments preconditioning the meeting.

"There are a lot of potential exemptions, so I think safe haven flows into the yen have abated", said Roy Teo, investment strategist for LGT Bank in Singapore.

Sanders claimed those pledges were made with "zero concessions" from the U.S.

"Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached", Trump said.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday said hours before Trump's agreement that the USA was still a long way from agreeing to direct talks.

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