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(3rdLD) Trump anticipates 'really interesting' visit to DMZ

All Headlines 22:35 June 29, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES with Trump's remarks, other details; ADDS photos; CHANGES headline)
By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, June 29 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Saturday he expects to have a "really interesting" visit to the inter-Korean border amid keen attention on the possibility of his meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un there.

He was speaking to pool reporters just before joining a welcome dinner hosted by President Moon Jae-in and first lady Kim Jung-sook at Cheong Wa Dae, Seoul's presidential office, shortly after his arrival in South Korea.

On a potential three-way summit between the two Koreas and the U.S. during his tour of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on Sunday, Trump said, "We're gonna see. We are working things out right now."

When a reporter asked him about whether he has "heard anything" from North Korea, he said, "We have. Yes." He did not elaborate.

The president is on his first visit to South Korea in a year and seven months.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) and U.S. President Donald Trump (3rd from L) converse during a friendly walk at the South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on June 29, 2019, shortly after the U.S. leader arrived in South Korea's capital on a two-day visit for a summit with Moon and a trip to the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas. (Yonhap)

He's scheduled to hold a group meeting with more than a dozen South Korean business leaders at a hotel ahead of his summit with Moon at Cheong Wa Dae on Sunday.

Moon and Trump are expected to focus their discussions on North Korea and pending bilateral issues, including the alliance and trade.

The highlight of Trump's two-day stay here through Sunday is an outing to the DMZ, which he views as a "real border."

During his previous trip to South Korea in November 2017, Trump planned to tour the DMZ along with Moon, but it was aborted due to heavy morning fog and mist.

Earlier Saturday while in Osaka, Japan, for a Group of 20 summit, Trump announced his plan for a DMZ trip this weekend.

He even offered via Twitter to meet with the North's leader for handshakes and greetings there.

North Korea called the proposal "very interesting."

If realized, it would serve as "another meaningful occasion in further deepening the personal relations between the two leaders and advancing the bilateral relations," North Korea's First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said in a statement carried by the communist nation's official news agency, the KCNA.

U.S. President Donald Trump (2nd from R) attends an official welcome dinner hosted by South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) and first lady Kim Jung-sook (C), along with White House advisers Ivanka Trump (2nd from L) and Jared Kushner, at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on June 29, 2019. (Yonhap)

White House advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner also took part in the dinner, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, held at the Sangchunjae pavilion, a beautiful structure modeled after a traditional Korean house, or hanok.

First lady Melania Trump is not accompanying her husband on his ongoing regional tour.

Also invited were South Korean boy band EXO and Pak Se-ri, head coach of South Korea's female golf team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (C) introduces the members of K-pop boy band EXO to Ivanka Trump (2nd from R) during a welcoming dinner at Cheong Wa Dae on June 29, 2019. (Yonhap)

Pak is an iconic figure in South Korea's golf circles, and EXO met with Ivanka during the closing ceremony of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Trump landed at Osan Air Base in Gyeonggi Province at around 7:08 p.m. on Air Force One. He then boarded the Marine One chopper bound for the U.S. military base in Yongsan in central Seoul. He used a car to reach Cheong Wa Dae.

U.S. President Donald Trump (R, front) shakes hands with U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris shortly after landing at Osan Air Base in Gyeonggi Province on June 29, 2019. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)


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