U.S. President Donald Trump will travel to South Korea on Saturday for a summit with President Moon Jae-in the following day, the ROK’s Presidential Blue House announced on Monday, in talks expected to see the two sides discuss ways to move beyond a now months-long impasse in North Korea negotiations.
The news, which confirms dates previously indicated in a statement by the White House last month, will see the U.S. President meet with his South Korean counterpart for the second time this year.
The two leaders are set to discuss ways to “strengthen the ROK-U.S. alliance and have in-depth discussions on how to closely cooperate with each other to build lasting peace through complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” Blue House spokesperson Ko Min-jung said in an on-camera press briefing on Monday afternoon.
The visit will be the U.S. President’s first visit to South Korea since November 2017 and the eighth between the two leaders, and will immediately follow the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan — scheduled to take place from Thursday to Friday.
Trump is expected to use that summit to hold meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping — himself fresh from talks with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang — as well as other regional stakeholders.
He will then depart Osaka for South Korea on Saturday, Seoul said, with a bilateral banquet expected to take place at the Blue House that evening.
Moon and Trump will then meet for bilateral talks the following day.
Media reports on Sunday also suggested President Trump might use his time in South Korea to visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
South Korean government officials were quoted on Monday as saying that a DMZ trip was “under review.”
The timing of the summit is notable, coming on the heels of North Korean reports on Sunday that Kim Jong Un had received what the country’s state media described as an “excellent” letter from the U.S. President.
“Kim Jong Un said he would seriously contemplate the interesting content, appreciating the political judgment and extraordinary courage of President Trump,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
Sunday’s announcement came just a few weeks after Trump told press that he’d recently received a “beautiful” personal letter from Kim, reiterating his view that North Korea has “tremendous potential.”
He and Kim continued to have a “great relationship,” the President added.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the wake of Sunday’s report told journalists he hoped the letter would serve as an impetus for the two countries to restart working-level negotiations over the nuclear issue and sanctions.
“I think the remarks you saw out of North Korea this morning suggest that may well be a very good possibility,” he told press at Joint Base Andrews. “We’re ready to go, we’re literally prepared to go at a moment’s notice if the North Koreans indicate that they’re prepared for those discussions.”
Also set to visit South Korea for talks this week is U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun — a move which has prompted speculation that he may use the opportunity to hold working-level meetings with North Korean counterparts in Panmunjom.
The U.S. State Department did not respond to NK News‘s requests for confirmation of those reports or for more details on Biegun’s itinerary while in South Korea.
Edited by Colin Zwirko
Featured image: White House