Trump indicates willingness to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the DMZ

A Trump-Kim meeting in the Peace House, which sits just south of the line of demarcation between North and South Korea, would be laden with symbolism.
A Trump-Kim meeting in the Peace House, which sits just south of the line of demarcation between North and South Korea, would be laden with symbolism.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (NYTIMES) - United States President Donald Trump signalled his preference on Monday (April 30) to meet Mr Kim Jong Un, the North Korean ruler, in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea, following the example set last week by the leaders of the two Koreas.

"Numerous countries are being considered for the MEETING," Mr Trump tweeted on Monday morning, "but would Peace House/Freedom House, on the Border of North & South Korea, be a more Representative, Important and Lasting site than a third party country? Just asking!"

White House officials have been discussing sites as far-flung as Singapore and Mongolia for the planned meeting between Mr Trump and Mr Kim.

Officials had privately played down the possibility of the Peace House, a three-storey, gray stone edifice built by South Korea to hold meetings with officials from the North. The concern has been the optics of Mr Trump travelling to Mr Kim's doorstep.

The discussion comes following dramatic images of Mr Kim greeting South Korea's president, Mr Moon Jae In, at the line of demarcation between North and South, and sitting down with him in the Peace House.

Mr Trump has heaped praise on the meeting, and it has accelerated the momentum behind his own encounter with Mr Kim, planned for late May or early June. His tweet about meeting at the Peace House could be read as a trial balloon or even a form of crowdsourcing.

While officials said last week that Singapore or Mongolia were still possible venues, they also said sites in South Korea were under consideration. Among the logistical issues is Mr Kim's ability to travel long distances, given the rickety condition of his aircraft.

 
 

On Sunday (April 29), the South Korean government said Mr Kim told Mr Moon that North Korea would relinquish its nuclear weapons if the US pledged not to attack it and endorsed a peace treaty formally ending the military conflict on the Korean Peninsula.

A Trump-Kim meeting in the Peace House, which sits just south of the line of demarcation between North and South Korea, would be laden with symbolism.

It would also give Mr Trump the chance to get to a place he missed the last time he was in South Korea. Heavy fog forced his helicopter to turn around shortly before he was to land in the DMZ.