United States President Donald Trump on Saturday said he was open to meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un while on a trip to Seoul in South Korea this weekend. North Korea said Trump’s invitation was interesting, but it was yet to receive an official request, AFP reported.
“After some very important meetings, including my meeting with President Xi [Jinping] of China, I will be leaving Japan for South Korea (with President Moon [Jae-in]),” Trump tweeted from Osaka in Japan, where he is attending the G20 summit. “While there, if Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ [demilitarised zone] just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!”
The demilitarised zone is the de facto international border between North Korea and South Korea.
“All I did is put out a feeler if you’d like to meet,” Trump said later about the invitation, adding that he’s not sure of Kim’s whereabouts, reported AP.
North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said it was an interesting suggestion. “But we have not received an official proposal in this regard,” AFP quoted KCNA news agency. “I am of the view that if the DPRK-US summit meetings take place on the division line, as is intended by President Trump, it would serve as another meaningful occasion in further deepening the personal relations between the two leaders and advancing the bilateral relations.”
Later in the day, Trump said he would have “no problem” stepping into North Korea if he meets Kim on the border with South Korea. “Sure I would, I would,” he said. “I’d feel very comfortable doing that. I’d have no problem.”
Trump is scheduled to fly to South Korea later on Saturday after he concludes meetings at the G20 summit, including one with China’s President Xi Jinping.
Earlier on Saturday, Trump told reporters during a breakfast with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that he would be visiting the heavily fortified area between North and South Korea. “We’re going there,” Trump said, according to AP. “If he’s there we’ll see each other for two minutes.”
In March, North Korea had promised further negotiations with the United States despite both countries failing to reach a deal at the Hanoi summit in Vietnam. Talks between Trump and Kim in Vietnam had abruptly ended following a disagreement over sanctions imposed on Pyongyang.