Trump-Kim summit, from the invitation to the cancellation: A timeline

Trump-Kim summit, from the invitation to the cancellation: A timeline
Trump-Kim summit, from the invitation to the cancellation: A timeline

To meet or not to meet -- that is the question everyone is asking about President Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.

The two leaders have gone back-and-forth on whether they will hold a historic summit this summer as a push for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula continues. After initially accepting Kim’s invitation, Trump announced he was pulling out of the summit in a letter to the North Korean leader in May.

But since then, as talks between officials have continued, Trump said the meeting is back on, according to plan. 

Read on for a look at how the meeting came about, fell apart and came back together.

Trump accepts invitation

Trump accepted Kim’s invitation to meet in early March, the White House said.

“President Trump has said for some time that he was open to talks and he would eventually meet with Kim when conditions were right,” then-U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said. “And I think in the president’s judgement that time has arrived now.”

Date, time and place is set

It wasn’t until May when the date for the summit was publicly set: June 12. Trump said in a tweet that he and Kim would “both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace.”

The meeting was scheduled to take place in Singapore.

Leaders waffle on meeting

Later in May, Trump began to suggest a reverse in course on whether the meeting would take place as North Korean officials threatened to cancel talks.

“If it doesn’t happen, maybe it will happen later. You never know about deals. I’ve made a lot of deals,” Trump said on May 22. “You never really know. It may not work out for June 12.”

The comments came after a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House.

Later, after Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News Kim had “asked” for the meeting, North Korea’s vice foreign minister accused the U.S. of “misleading the public opinion as if we have invited them to sit with us.”

“We will neither beg the U.S. for dialogue nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together with us,” Choe Sun Hui reportedly said.

Trump backs out

Trump announced on May 24 that he decided to pull out of the summit in an open letter to Kim.

“I was very much looking forward to being there with you,” Trump wrote. “Sadly ... I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting.”

“I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately, it is only dialogue that matters,” Trump continued. “Some day, I look very much forward to meeting you.”

The White House also revealed that North Korean officials had stopped coming to recent meetings regarding the summit.

North Korea reverses course

After Trump pulled out of the summit, North Korea said it was still willing to come to the table.

“We express our willingness to sit down face-to-face with the U.S. and resolve issues anytime and in any format,” North Korean Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan said on May 25, according to Korean Central News Agency.

Trump offers hope for the meeting

Trump suggested a summit could still take place in June in a May 25 tweet.

“We are having very productive talks with North Korea about reinstating the Summit, which, if it does happen, will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, June 12th, and, if necessary, will be extended beyond that date,” Trump said.

South and North Korea meet again

Kim and Moon held a surprise meeting on May 26 on the North Korean side of the demilitarized zone reportedly to discuss a path forward for the summit with Trump.

Aides travel to North Korea, Singapore

Trump said U.S. officials arrived in North Korea for discussions about the summit on May 27. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, “We continue to prepare for a meeting between the President and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.”

“Our United States team has arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the Summit between Kim Jong Un and myself,” Trump tweeted. “I truly believe North Korea has brilliant potential and will be a great economic and financial Nation one day. Kim Jong Un agrees with me on this. It will happen!”

U.S. officials also reportedly met with Kim Chang Son, the North Korean leader’s chief of staff, in Singapore on May 28.

“We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea,” Trump said in a tweet the following day. “Meetings are currently taking place concerning Summit, and more.”

New York City meetings 

Kim Yong Chol, one of Kim’s closest aides and North Korea’s former military intelligence chief, met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York City on May 30.

The two are also expected to engage in a “day full of meetings” on May 31, according to the White House.

Pompeo met with Kim in April, before he was sworn in as secretary of state, Trump has said.

Meeting is back on

After being delivered a personal letter from Kim by a North Korean official at the White House, Trump announced the June 12 summit was back on. 

“We'll be meeting on June 12 in Singapore," the president told reporters after the meeting that lasted for more than an hour.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @K_Schallhorn.

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