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Trump says he’ll meet North Korea’s Kim in Demilitarized Zone today

Trump has met Kim twice at summits in Singapore and Hanoi. No U.S. president has ever met a North Korean leader in the DMZ.

world Updated: Jun 30, 2019 10:14 IST
Margaret Talev and Jihye Lee
Margaret Talev and Jihye Lee
trump,kim jong un,moon jae-in
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump talk in the garden of the Metropole hotel during the second North Korea-U.S. summit in Hanoi, Vietnam.((Reuters file photo))

President Donald Trump said he’ll hold a history-making meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sunday in the Demilitarized Zone separating the Korean Peninsula.

“I’ll be meeting with Chairman Kim,” Trump said at a news conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. “Just shake hands quickly and say hello,” he added.

Trump has met Kim twice at summits in Singapore and Hanoi. No U.S. president has ever met a North Korean leader in the DMZ.

“The U.S. and North Korea will meet at Panmunjom today,” Moon said, referring to the truce village that straddles the border. “In 65 years since there was a declaration of a ceasefire, there will be a handshake for peace at the symbol of separation.”

Trump made his audacious offer to meet Kim at the DMZ in a tweet on Saturday before meetings at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, jolting the gathering of world leaders as well as officials in the U.S. and Seoul. The American and South Korean governments have scrambled to arrange the meeting, but there’s been no public acknowledgment by North Korea that Kim will show up.

“I look forward to saying hello to him if that all finally works out,” Trump said earlier in the day. “I guess there’s always a chance that it might not, but it sounds like the teams would like to have that work out, so that’s good.”

A top North Korean diplomat, Choe Son Hui, called Trump’s tweet “a very interesting suggestion” in a statement on Saturday but added: “We have not received an official proposal in this regard.” The country’s state-run media was silent on Sunday about both Trump and the possibility of a meeting.

Throughout meetings Sunday morning, Trump and Moon both appeared unsure about whether Kim would appear. The U.S. president repeatedly cautioned that the logistics were complicated, and he said that any meeting would be little more than a photo op.

“Chairman Kim wants to do it,” he said before an official meeting with Moon. “A handshake means a lot,” he added.

Moon will accompany Trump to the DMZ and has eagerly encouraged the meeting, though it’s unclear whether he’ll participate. The North Korean government has scoffed at the Blue House’s attempts to act as an intermediary in negotiations between Trump and Kim, which the U.S. hopes will lead to Pyongyang relinquishing its nuclear arms.

“I saw that tweet and it felt like you’ve sent a flower of hope for the Korean Peninsula,” Moon told Trump on Sunday. “If you shake hands with Chairman Kim Jong Un at the Military Demarcation Line, it would be historic, just by the picture of it. Not only for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but also for a permanent peace in the region, it’ll be very meaningful.”

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

First Published: Jun 30, 2019 10:08 IST