US President Donald Trump is likely to visit the Demilitarized Zone between South and North Korea during his planned state visit to Seoul later this week, Japanese media reported Sunday.
Following a summit with President Moon Jae-in at Cheong Wa Dae on Sunday, Trump is expected to travel to the zone about 50 kilometers north of Seoul by helicopter. The DMZ has divided the country since the Korean War was halted in an armistice in 1953.
US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before departing from the White House in Washington, Saturday. (Xinhua-Yonhap)
The US president will pay a two-day state visit to the South from Saturday evening after attending the G-20 summit to be held in Osaka, Japan, on Friday and Saturday, according to reports from Asahi Shimbun and Kyodo News.
The US government is fine-tuning the president’s schedule with the South Korean government, which requested Trump’s visit to the zone that Trump attempted to visit in 2017 with Moon but which was canceled due to weather conditions.
In response to the reports, Cheong Wa Dae said the visit has not been decided yet.
Asahi Shimbun said that Seoul and Washington had planned for the DMZ visit to stress their alliance in 2017 when tensions between Pyongyang and Washington escalated due to the North’s nuclear test and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles, while this time the visit aims at creating momentum to resume their denuclearization talks.
Analysts here expect US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun to hold a working-level negotiation with his North Korean counterpart in Panmunjom ahead of Trump’s visit, although Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said nothing had been confirmed.
On June 15, President Moon Jae-in stressed the need for working-level talks for the US-North Korea denuclearization negotiations to make progress.
“A summit (between the US and North Korea) should take place based on working-level talks so that the leaders won’t part after having failed to reach an agreement like they did in their second summit in Hanoi,” he said.
By Park Han-na (email@example.com)