Pyongyang: Trump's invitation to meet Kim Jong Un at demilitarised zone 'interesting' but no official request

People offering flowers at the statues of late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at the Mansu Hill Grand Monument in Pyongyang, on April 15, 2019.
People offering flowers at the statues of late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at the Mansu Hill Grand Monument in Pyongyang, on April 15, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (AFP) - North Korea on Saturday (June 29) said US President Donald Trump's surprise invitation to meet Kim Jong Un was "interesting", but that it had yet to receive an official request.

"We see it as a very interesting suggestion, but we have not received an official proposal in this regard," the official KCNA news agency quoted Vice-Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui as saying.

"I am of the view that if the DPRK-US summit meetings take place on the division line, as is intended by President Trump, it would serve as another meaningful occasion in further deepening the personal relations between the two leaders and advancing the bilateral relations."

The North was responding to Mr Trump's remarks where he said he would enjoy meeting Mr Kim at the demilitarised zone on North Korea's border this weekend.

"I will be in South Korea - I let him know," Mr Trump told reporters in Osaka, Japan, after a tweet on Saturday morning in which he invited Mr Kim for a handshake.

"We'll see. If he's there we'll see each other for two minutes. That's all we can, but that will be fine."

If a meeting takes place, it would be the third between the two leaders since they began easing longstanding tensions that risked sparking a military conflict.

 
 
 

A summit in Vietnam earlier this year collapsed without a deal, and discussions have gone nowhere since.

North Korea's state media reported a week ago that Mr Kim had received a letter from Mr Trump with "excellent content", without providing more details.

A Trump-Kim encounter on Sunday hadn't been confirmed, Ms Ko Min-jung, a spokesman for South Korea's presidential office, said by text message.

Mr Victor Cha, a senior adviser at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said he expects South Korea's government will now work on getting Mr Kim to show up and meet Mr Trump.

"But there's nothing really to be gained from it except for a photo op," he said in an interview. "There's no real progress on denuclearisation. The more meetings you do like this without any progress, the more you are legitimising him as a leader and an acceptable nuclear weapons state."