Trump says open to stepping into North Korea with leader Kim Jong Un

US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un pose before a meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi on Feb 27, 2019.
US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un pose before a meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi on Feb 27, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

OSAKA (AFP, BLOOMBERG) - US President Donald Trump said on Saturday (June 29) he would have "no problem" stepping into North Korea if he meets the country's leader Kim Jong Un on the border with South Korea.

"Sure I would, I would. I'd feel very comfortable doing that. I'd have no problem," Trump said in response to a question on whether he might step into the country if a meeting with Kim in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) goes ahead.

"I will be in South Korea - I let him know," Trump told reporters earlier, after a tweet on Saturday morning in which he invited 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 Trump crosses the border, he'd be the first American president to ever step foot into the country.

North Korean Foreign Ministry official Choe Son Hui said Trump's invitation was "a very interesting suggestion, but we have not received an official proposal in this regard".

"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," Choe said, as quoted by the official Korean Central News Agency.

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.

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

"Certainly we seem to get along very well," Trump said of Kim during the start of a breakfast meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the summit.

"For the stupid people that say 'Oh he gets along,' no, it's good to get along. It's good to get along. Because, frankly, if I didn't become president you'd be right now in a war with North Korea."

 
 

Trump said he thought of sending the tweet inviting Kim to meet him at the border on Saturday. "I just put out a feeler because I don't know where he is right now," the president said. "He may not be in North Korea but I said if Chairman Kim would want to meet I'll be at the border."

Trump also claimed that the North Korean leader follows him on Twitter.

Trump made the claim, and after being asked by a journalist to confirm, added “I guess so, because we got a call very quickly.”

Trump also said it would not be a bad sign if Kim did not show up at the DMZ separating the two Koreas on Sunday and that he would not take it as a snub of his invitation.