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Trump in S. Korea, plans talks with Moon, DMZ visit

All News 19:10 June 29, 2019

By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, June 29 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in South Korea on Saturday for talks with President Moon Jae-in and potentially a historic visit to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

Both Moon and Trump flew here after attending the Group of 20 summit in Japan.

They are scheduled to have dinner together at Cheong Wa Dae later in the day.

After meeting with a group of South Korean business leaders, Trump will have his first one-on-one summit with Moon in less than three months. They had their previous bilateral talks at the White House in April.

A combined image of South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L), North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) and U.S. President Donald Trump (Yonhap)

Trump is then expected to head to the DMZ, which he called a "real border." The DMZ, bisecting the Korean Peninsula, has served as the inter-Korean border since the 1950-53 Korean War.

Hours before departure for South Korea, Trump sent an invitation to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un via Twitter.

"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(?)!" he wrote.

It remains unconfirmed whether it's just Trump's wishful thinking or Washington and Pyongyang have already communicated with each other on the issue.

Speaking to reporters during a breakfast with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Osaka, Trump said: "We'll be there, and I just put out a feeler because I don't know where (Kim) is right now. He may not be in North Korea."

North Korea was relatively quick in responding to Trump's informal offer.

It's a "very interesting suggestion," the North's First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said in a statement carried by the communist nation's official news agency, the KCNA.

If realized, she added, it would serve as "another meaningful occasion in further deepening the personal relations between the two leaders and advancing the bilateral relations."

But she added Pyongyang has not received any related official proposal yet from Washington.

Moon, meanwhile, said earlier the two sides are in "behind-the-scenes" talks on a third summit.

Regardless of whether Kim shows up at the DMZ or not, Trump is expected to send a message to him across the border.

The U.S. president tried to travel to the DMZ on his previous trip to South Korea in 2017, but it was aborted due to bad weather.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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