Published: Sat, June 29, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Seoul food for Trump as Moon serves up US steak

Seoul food for Trump as Moon serves up US steak

Trump has said he'll visit the heavily-fortified demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea, and he's invited Kim to join him 'just to shake his hand and say Hello!'

'After some very important meetings, including my meeting with President Xi of China, I will be leaving Japan for South Korea (with President Moon),' Trump wrote on Saturday from the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. The US president signaled late Friday that he was interested in meeting Kim at the border "just to shake his hand and say hello".

"I wouldn't expect a Trump-Kim meeting: it's too risky to do so with such little working level prep, since neither can afford a second failed meeting at home", he said.

And as well as the 12 cold Korean starters on the official menu ― among them steamed sea urchin with tofu, and pan-fried mung beans ― mini-hamburgers were served, Blue House officials said.

"I just thought of it this morning", he said.

Mr Trump's unexpected tweet suggested "saying hello" to Mr Kim during the U.S. leader's visit to South Korea.

But negotiations have stalled since a second summit in Vietnam in February collapsed as the two sides failed to narrow differences between USA calls for denuclearization and North Korean demands for sanctions relief.

Asked about Trump's surprise invitation to Kim to meet him at the border, the Blue House said nothing has been decided.

In the past the USA president has bonded with Shinzo Abe, the conservative prime minister of South Korea's neighbor Japan - who Trump has regularly described as his friend - over burgers and several rounds on the course.

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Will Mr Trump actually meet Mr Kim?

Before that, the most famous incident at Panmunjom happened in 1976, when axe-wielding North Korean soldiers killed two US officers sent out to trim a tree that obstructed the view from a checkpoint.

Trump and Kim met last in Hanoi, Vietnam in February.

On Sunday, North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Kim received a letter from his USA counterpart, noting that Kim "said with satisfaction that the letter is of excellent content".

The Hanoi summit foundered amid disagreements on what the North would be willing to give up in exchange for sanctions relief.

"He responded, so we'll see".

Trump has previously said publicly he had received a very warm "beautiful letter" from Kim. Most past DMZ visits by US presidents and other officials happened at Panmunjom and nearby areas.

Jean Lee, former Associated Press bureau chief in Pyongyang who now heads the Washington-based Wilson Center think tank's Korea Program, said any potential meeting could help restart the talks between the two countries, but that more work needed to be done.

South Korea's presidential office said nothing was confirmed with regards to a Trump, Kim meeting. Trump has brushed off the significance of the tests, even as his own national security adviser, John Bolton, has said they violated U.N. Security Council resolutions. Kim's reported remarks also appeared to be a message to urge the United States to show some flexibility.

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