What Happened: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly invited U.S. President Donald Trump in late August to visit Pyongyang for a third bilateral summit, according to a Sept. 16 report by South Korean newspaper Joongang Ilbo. Neither North Korea nor the United States confirmed the invitation.
The report came amid a North Korean government statement that it expected working-level talks to resume soon, although Pyongyang said denuclearization wasn't possible without an improvement to the country's security against external threats. Meanwhile, a U.S. State Department spokesperson said the United States welcomed Pyongyang's willingness to resume talks, even as the sides have not scheduled any new meetings.
Why It Matters: North Korea has long pushed for security guarantees before committing to denuclearization, while the United States has thus far resisted such promises despite mulling potential sanctions relief. However, Trump may yet choose a limited interim deal with Pyongyang that leaves core issues unaddressed to score a political victory in the lead-up to U.S. presidential elections in 2020.
Background: North Korea's Foreign Ministry said last week that talks with the United States could begin in late September, followed shortly by another weapons test. Kim has imposed an end-of-year deadline for the United States to shift its stance on bilateral talks and for both sides to make progress on security issues.