Trump offers to meet Kim Jong Un at the DMZ

President Donald J. Trump is greeted by Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, on February 27, 2019, at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi, for their second summit meeting. White House Photo by Shealah Craighead/UPI

SEOUL, June 29 (UPI) — President Donald Trump made an offer on Saturday morning to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the DMZ during his visit this weekend to South Korea.

Trump tweeted out the invitation from Osaka, Japan, where he has been attending the G20 Summit with other world leaders.

He is scheduled to have a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping before departing for South Korea.

“After some very important meetings, including my meeting with President Xi of China, I will be leaving Japan for South Korea (with President Moon),” Trump tweeted.

“While there, if Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!”

President Trump followed up on his tweet later in the morning in comments to reporters ahead of a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

“I just put out a feeler because I don’t know where he is right now, he may not be in North Korea,” Trump said, adding that he and Kim “seem to get along very well.”

Trump said that any meeting with Kim would be brief.

“If he’s there we’ll see each other for two minutes,” he said. “That’s all we can. But that will be fine.”

Trump, who has been calling to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico since his days on the campaign trail, also expressed admiration for the security of the heavily militarized DMZ.

“By the way, you talk about a wall, when you talk about a border, that’s what they call a border,” he said. “Nobody goes through that border … that’s called a real border. We’re going there, we’ll look at it.”

If the two leaders do meet, it would mark a dramatic turnaround for a peace process that had been stalled for months.

The last summit between Trump and Kim, held in Hanoi in February, failed to produce an agreement over the North’s nuclear program and since then there had appeared to be little movement in negotiations.

Speculation has risen recently that another meeting may be in the works, however, with Trump and Kim exchanging personal letters.

In an interview this week South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that back channel negotiations have been continuing between Washington and Pyongyang, an assertion that North Korea later denied.

Trump is scheduled to meet with Moon on Sunday, but the White House said before the G20 Summit that there was no plan for a meeting with Kim.

Stephen Biegun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, arrived in South Korea ahead of Trump’s visit and met with his counterpart, Lee Do-hoon, in Seoul on Friday.

Biegun said the United States was willing to hold “constructive” talks with North Korea and that it was ready to pursue the commitments made at the first Trump-Kim summit in Singapore “in a simultaneous and parallel manner,” according to the South Korean Foreign Ministry.

That summit, held in June last year, produced an agreement in which North Korea pledged to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, while the two leaders agreed to improve relations and build lasting peace.

The two sides have differed over the timing and sequence of implementing the agreement, however, with Pyongyang seeking concessions, such as the lifting of some international sanctions, in exchange for steps it makes toward dismantling its nuclear program.

Washington has held out for complete denuclearization before sanctions would be lifted, but the comments from Biegun could indicate a softening of that stance.


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