The White House view is that North Korea’s softening of its stance and the invitation to talks is evidence that Donald Trump’s strategy of “maximum pressure” is working.
Though taken completely by surprise – by the President’s rapid agreement to talks with Kim Jong Un – White House aides maintain that the combination of strangulation by sanctions and the threat of annihilation has brought the dictator to the table.
It is certainly a bold move by Mr Trump, who prides himself on being a President who does things very differently.
His view is that time and again successive US Presidents have wrestled with the issue of North Korea’s nuclear programme and pretty much got nowhere.
And he is right. For 10 years six-party talks in Beijing stopped and started and stopped again while diplomats tried forlornly to thrash out a deal.
So President Trump has calculated that it may be worth doing things differently and leader-to-leader talks are a gamble worth taking.
One expert on North Korea I spoke to believes that the personalities of the two Presidents may, strangely, actually help facilitate a deal.
Mr Kim is a megalomaniac, he said, who feels he is the only one who can make any decisions, and Mr Trump also has autocratic tendencies when it comes to getting things done.
It is an interesting thought. The likelihood is that President Trump will enter these talks with inflated expectations.
The North Korean regime has coveted nuclear weapons since the 1960s. For them, it is the means to regime survival.
They are hardly likely to give up now without very strong guarantees of security from the Americans.
The practicalities are immense and the hurdles many.
But bold initiatives sometimes pay off and if President Trump succeeds in lowering tensions and forcing the North Korean leader into nuclear retreat then that would be quite some legacy.