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South Korean national security adviser Chung Eui-yong (center) makes the announcement from the White House. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump has accepted an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to meet and the meeting will take place "by May," South Korean national security adviser Chung Eui-yong said in a statement from the White House. Chung also said Kim had offered to suspend nuclear testing and would not object to joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises.

  • The White House has confirmed that Trump "will accept the invitation to meet with Kim Jong Un at a place and time to be determined," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. "We look forward to the denuclearization of North Korea. In the meantime, all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain."

Why it matters: This is a stunning announcement — both that Kim suggested the meeting and that Trump immediately accepted — given just a few months ago the leaders were exchanging threats of nuclear destruction. It's also a very risky move, and there's plenty of room for caution given the history of negotiations with North Korea.

Chung's statement:

" I told President Trump that in our meeting, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he's committed to denuclearization. Kim pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests. He understands that the routine joint military exercises between the Republic of Korea and the United States must continue. And he expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible. President Trump appreciated the greeting, and said he would meet Kim Jong-un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization."

Ahead of the announcement, Trump popped into the White House briefing room and told reporters to expect a "major announcement" from the South Koreans. No U.S. officials were present for Chung's announcement.

Smart takes:

  • AP's Josh Lederman: "Secretary Tillerson, just a few hours ago: 'In terms of direct talks with the United States – and you asked negotiations, and we’re a long ways from negotiations.'"
  • CNN's Will Ripley: "Totally unprecedented. Kim Jong Un seems to be fully committed and ready to deal with the US, being well aware that President Trump is the only one-shot man who could make a bold and fast, realistic decision without going through typical bureaucracy."
  • Axios' Jonathan Swan: "Huge news that Donald Trump will meet with Kim. But no sentient human can believe Kim is 'committed to denuclearization.'"

Go deeper: Why diplomacy with North Korea has failed in the past.

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Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

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Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.

Janet Yellen plays down debt, tax hike concerns in confirmation hearing

Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen at an event in December. (Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images)

Janet Yellen, Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, pushed back against two key concerns from Republican senators at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday: the country's debt and the incoming administration's plans to eventually raise taxes.

Driving the news: Yellen — who's expected to win confirmation — said spending big now will prevent the U.S. from having to dig out of a deeper hole later. She also said the Biden administration's priority right now is coronavirus relief, not raising taxes.

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President Trump gave a farewell video address on Tuesday, saying that his administration "did what we came here to do — and so much more."

Why it matters, via Axios' Alayna Treene: The address is very different from the Trump we've seen in his final weeks as president — one who has refused to accept his loss, who peddled conspiracy theories that fueled the attack on the Capitol, and who is boycotting his successor's inauguration.