OSAKA, Japan (AP) — President Donald Trump made an offer Saturday via Twitter to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un to meet him at the demilitarized border between North and South Korea.
The president has long tried to obtain a nuclear accord with the North Korean dictator. North Korea responded by calling the offer a “very interesting suggestion.”
Presidential visits to the DMZ are usually treated as confidential for security reasons. Trump told reporters of his visit during a breakfast with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan that he would be visiting the heavily fortified area between the two Koreas.
It was before the breakfast that he wrote his invitation to Kim, stating, “If Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!” in a Tweet.
White House officials haven’t confirmed yet whether or not Kim has agreed to meet. North Korea’s state media made no mention Saturday of a possible meeting between Trump and Kim, either.
The President is scheduled to fly to South Korea later Saturday after he concludes meetings at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan.
South Korea’s presidential Blue House said in a tweet that Trump asked South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the G20 meetings whether he’d seen Trump’s Twitter message to Kim. When Moon replied he had, Trump said “(Let’s) try doing it” and raised his thumb, according to the Blue House.
The meeting would come at a time of escalating tensions. 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. Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton, has said they violated U.N. Security Council resolutions.
Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to meet with the leader of the isolated nation last year in Singapore, where they signed a broad agreement to bring the North toward denuclearization. However,Trump’s summit with Kim in Vietnam earlier this year collapsed without an agreement for denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
Substantive talks between the two nations have largely broken down since then as the North has rejected Trump’s insistence that it give up its weapons before it sees relief from crushing international sanctions.
Still, Trump has made attempts to form a relationship with Kim, who oversees an authoritarian government, in hopes of keeping the prospects of a deal alive.
Trump also suggested Saturday that the North was prepared to turn over additional unidentified remains of unknown American and allied service-members. At least six Americans have been identified from 55 boxes of remains delivered by the North last year after Trump’s first meeting with Kim, but the Defense Department in May announced it was halting efforts to recover additional remains, citing a lack of cooperation from North Korea.