President Donald Trump

Jasper Colt-USA TODAY

Tillerson: Meeting Between Trump, Kim Jong Un Could Take 'Weeks' To Set Up

March 09, 2018 - 9:31 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- A "dramatic" and surprising change of posture by Kim Jong Un is what led President Donald Trump to accept an invitation to meet face to face with the North Korean leader, according to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

"This was the most forward leaning report that we've had in terms of Kim Jong Un's, not just willingness, but his strong desire for talks. So I think really what changed was his posture, in a fairly dramatic way in all honesty. That came as a little bit of a surprise to us, as well that he was so forward leaning in his conversations with the delegation from South Korea," Tillerson said Friday.

South Korean national security director Chung Eui-yong made the stunning announcement in front of the White House Thursday that Kim Jong Un is “committed to denuclearization” and is eager to meet with Mr. Trump "as soon as possible."

"Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!" Mr. Trump said on Twitter.

A place and time for the meeting has yet to be decided, but the summit is expected to take place before May.

Tillerson said it could take "some weeks" to set up.

"So far the White House has not been able to say whether it is the State Department and the secretary of state who will take the lead in laying the ground work," "Face the Nation" moderator Margaret Brennan told WCBS Newsradio 880. "That's typically how things are done but remember the U.S. diplomat with the most experience on North Korea recently announced that he's quitting. There is no head of Asia policy at the State Department that's been Senate-confirmed, there is no U.S. ambassador to South Korea as yet cause the president hasn't appointed one so there is a void in many ways in terms of people with diplomatic experience on North Korea."

This comes after months of trading insults and threats by the two leaders.

Last August, Mr. Trump threatened to "unleash fire and fury" on North Korea if it continued to threaten the U.S.

"Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime," he said of the North Korean leader a month later during his first address to the United Nations General Assembly.

Kim responded, calling the president a "dotard" and describing him as "mentally deranged."

The summit would be the first time a sitting U.S. president meets a leader of North Korea.