Pyongyang: Trump's invitation 'interesting' but no official request

Sunday, 30 Jun, 2019

Trump invited North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to meet him for a handshake at the DMZ.

"President Trump made his pitch for a short summit with Chairman Kim on Twitter as White House officials most likely have tried - and failed - to set up such a meeting through official diplomatic or South Korean channels", said Harry J. Kazianis of the Center for the National Interest.

But South and North Korea still believed that "peace and trust" were necessary prior conditions to denuclearisation, while the Trump administration insisted unilateral disarmament must come first, he said. USA officials said Trump would also warn Putin against continued election meddling.

Trump will arrive in Seoul on Saturday afternoon, where he plans to stay for 24 hours to meet with Moon and discuss the North Korean situation.

However, the US President declined to address reporters' questions on the death of Mr Khashoggi. "He responded, so we'll see".

Trump has defended North Korea in recent comments for the launch of a short-range ballistic missile.

After a year of talks, the U.S. hasn't got North Korea to agree to a definition of "denuclearization", let alone a timeline to carry it out.

The invitation carried a few of the hallmarks of Trump's previous conferences with Kim, particularly the heightened drama and spectacle over whether the meeting would decide dwelling. He will be traveling to South Korea on Saturday. While North Korea has not recently tested a long-range missile that could reach the U.S., it last month a fired off a series of short-range missiles. Mr Trump has repeatedly said he would like to scale back this deployment.

Special Adviser to President Moon for foreign affairs and national security Chung-in Moon (no relation) told the reporters the South Korean administration would like to see a gradual drawdown of economic sanctions that have been imposed on the North in exchange for a more incremental denuclearization. The show of bravado and support for South Korea, one of America's closest military allies, has evolved over the years to include binoculars and bomber jackets.

As he left the White House for Asia earlier this week, Trump was asked whether he'd meet with Kim. Neither summit has produced a comprehensive agreement that would see North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons program in exchange for sanctions relief.

The DMZ is the dividing line between South and North Korea where tension rose between the two countries following the end of the Korean War in 1953.

"Nothing is fixed at the moment, and our previous position of hoping for dialogue between North Korea and the United States remains unchanged", the office said. "I said if Chairman Kim would want to meet, I'll be at the border".