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17 Sep, 2019 07:28

Maybe later: Trump rules out going to Pyongyang, hopes Kim would come to US instead

Maybe later: Trump rules out going to Pyongyang, hopes Kim would come to US instead

Their relationship is “very good” but meeting with Kim Jong-un in North Korea would be premature, President Donald Trump said following reports that he received a low-key invitation from Pyongyang.

Kim Jong-un spoke of his “willingness” to host Donald Trump in Pyongyang in a letter sent to the White House in late August, according to South Korea’s Joongang Ilbo newspaper, citing an unnamed diplomatic source. Washington was conspicuously mute on the issue until Tuesday, when Trump broke his silence and addressed the media.

The president said he would “probably not” be willing to go to North Korea in the near future, but did not rule out going there at some point.

“I would do it... at some time in a later future,” Trump said. “I don’t think it’s ready for that.” But he does believe Kim would “love coming to the United States,” under certain circumstances.

Trump and Kim have held two high-level summits since June of last year to discuss North Korea’s denuclearization, lifting US sanctions, and signing a peace treaty, but there has been a lack of substantive progress. They also briefly met in June at the demarcation line between the two Koreas, but the meeting – in which Trump became the first US president to formally cross the North Korean border – was also largely symbolic.

The attempt to restart the stalling denuclearization talks comes after Pyongyang’s flurry of ballistic missile and rocket tests which began in late July. North Korea says the launches were in response to US-South Korea joint drills, which are largely viewed in the North as a rehearsal for invasion.

The reclusive state has outlined its conditions for resuming the talks. Pyongyang wants the US to remove all “threats and hurdles endangering our system security and obstructing our development,” a senior Foreign Ministry official said this week. 

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