Trump invites Kim Jong-un for meeting at DMZ

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In this June 12, 2019, photo, a South Korean soldier gestures during a press tour at the Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone (DMZ), South Korea. U.S. President Donald Trump invited North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to shake hands during a visit by Trump to the DMZ. AP-Yonhap

OSAKA, Japan _ U.S. President Donald Trump has proposed a brief encounter with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un somewhere in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas.

“I will be going to South Korea. We may go to the DMZ. I don’t know where (North Korean leader) Kim is right now. He may not be in North Korea, but I said if Chairman Kim would want to meet, I would be at the border, and certainly we seem to get along very well. I can tell you. That’s good thing, not a bad thing,” the U.S. president told reporters, Saturday.

The surprise invitation came as Trump wrapped up his summits with other world leaders at this year’s G20 summit held in the western Japanese city.

“All I did is put out a feeler if he (Kim Jong-un)’d like to meet. Nobody goes through that border, just about nobody. That’s called a real border. But we’re going there. We’re going to look at it as really a point of interest,” the U.S. leader said, according to press pool reports.

The North’s Kim very rarely leaves North Korea for security reasons. 

Regarding Trump’s invitation, Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Ko Min-jung said; “Nothing has been decided yet. But again, South Korea is hoping to see an early resumption of nuclear dialogue between the United States and North Korea.”

Trump plans to have a dinner with South Korean President Moon in Cheong Wa Dae on Saturday evening. A joint press conference is planned after talks with President Moon, Sunday morning.

Talks aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear program failed to produce results in February when Trump walked away from his summit with the North Korean leader Kim in Hanoi, Vietnam, without any agreed statements. But in recent days, the two leaders exchanged personal letters. Trump had tried to visit the inter-Korean border in 2017 but he didn’t make it because of bad weather.

As Trump enters his re-election campaign, the U.S. leader is hoping to get credit for his contribution of diplomatic progress with the North Korean nuclear conflict issue as his remarkable foreign policy success. Trump’s “strategic patience” to avoid negative news has offered the North’s Kim leverage in his repeated plea to have economic sanctions lifted.

As wrapping up the G20, President Moon thanked for Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin for their roles in achieving “complete denuclearization and the settlement of peace” on the peninsula, while demonstrating unwavering commitment to dialogue and negotiation.

“When diverse channels of dialogue and cooperation are up and running, as seen in Japanese PM Abe’s recent proposal for North Korea-Japan summit without any conditions, there will be a growing understanding that peace can bring mutual stability and economic benefits and serve individual interests,” the South Korean leader said in a third session at the summit, Cheong Wa Dae said in a statement.