WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Monday that he will meet with Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, in May or early June, setting a timeline for the historic summit between the American president and the mercurial North Korean strongman.
Last month, Mr. Trump abruptly accepted an invitation to meet with Mr. Kim after South Korean officials delivered the message that the reclusive leader was willing to discuss abandoning his nuclear weapons program. Over the weekend, American officials said they had received similar assurances directly from senior North Korean counterparts.
That appears to clear the way for talks between Mr. Trump — who has mocked his counterpart as “Little Rocket Man” — and Mr. Kim, whose pursuit of nuclear missiles capable of reaching the United States has accelerated during the first 15 months of Mr. Trump’s administration.
“We’ve been in touch with North Korea,” Mr. Trump said at the beginning of a cabinet meeting at the White House. “Hopefully we will be able to make a deal on the de-nuking of North Korea. They’ve said so. We’ve said so. Hopefully it will be a relationship that’s much different than it’s been for many, many years.”
Mr. Trump added: “We have a meeting that is being set up with North Korea, so that will be very exciting, I think, for the world. I think it’s going to be a very exciting thing for the world.”
Initially, the White House had said Mr. Trump was willing to meet with Mr. Kim by May. And the outcome of such talks, if they happen, remain in doubt.
It remains unclear whether North Korea would put conditions on its willingness to stop its nuclear program that would be unacceptable to the United States. And it is not certain that Mr. Trump would be able to secure the kind of verification that would be necessary to ensure that the North Koreans are abiding by any agreement.