WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un because Kim is the ultimate decision-maker in his country, a senior administration official said on Thursday.
"President Trump has made his reputation on making deals," the official said in a briefing with reporters after Trump's agreement to meet Kim at a time and place to be chosen in what would be the first-ever U.S.-North Korea summit.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the message from Kim was relayed orally to Trump by a South Korean delegation in the Oval Office. There was no letter from Kim, the official said.
"Kim Jong Un is the one person who is able to make decisions under their authoritarian, uniquely authoritarian, or totalitarian system, and so it made sense to accept an invitation to met with the one person who can actually make decisions instead of repeating the sort of long slog of the past," said the official.
The United States will settle for nothing less than permanent denuclearization of North Korea, the official said.
Trump spoke to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about the development, the official added.
(Reporting by Steve Holland and Jeff Mason; Editing by Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney)