Trump offers to meet North Korea’s Kim at DMZ this weekend

OSAKA (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday he would like to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un this weekend at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) on the border of North and South Korea.

FILE PHOTO: 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 Feb. 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

Trump, who is in Osaka, Japan, for the Group of 20 summit, is due to arrive in South Korea later on Saturday. He is scheduled to leave the country on Sunday and return to Washington.

“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(?)!” Trump said on Twitter.

“If he’s there, we’ll see each other for two minutes, that’s all we can, but that will be fine,” Trump said. He added that he and Kim “get along very well.”

U.S. special envoy Stephen Biegun said on Friday the United States was ready to hold constructive talks with North Korea to follow through on a denuclearization agreement reached by the two countries last year, South Korea’s foreign ministry said.

Biegun told his South Korean counterpart, Lee Do-hoon, that Washington wanted to make “simultaneous, parallel” progress on the agreement reached at a summit between Trump and Kim in Singapore last year, the ministry said in a statement.

Both sides agreed to establish new relations and work towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

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But negotiations have stalled since a second summit in Vietnam in February collapsed as the two sides failed to narrow differences between U.S. calls for denuclearization and North Korean demands for sanctions relief.

Trump said before departing for the G20 Osaka Summit that he did not expect to meet with Kim during his trip.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this week that a recent exchange of letters between Trump and Kim boosted hopes for a restart of talks, calling it a “very real possibility.”

Trump told reporters on Saturday Kim had sent him a birthday card and Trump sent him a letter in return.

North Korea’s official KCNA news agency said Trump’s letter had “excellent content” and Kim would “seriously contemplate” it, without elaborating.

Trump has previously said publicly he had received a very warm “beautiful letter” from Kim. He has not divulged its contents, but the White House official, who did not want to be identified, described the letter as “very flowery.”

Reporting by Roberta Rampton; writing by Eric Beech; editing by G Crosse and Sandra Maler

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