NATIONAL

Washington confirms no Trump-Kim meeting on trip to Seoul

By Choi He-suk
  • Published : Jun 25, 2019 - 17:49
  • Updated : Jun 25, 2019 - 17:49

US President Donald Trump has no plans to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during his trip to South Korea, a White House official confirmed Monday.

In response to questions from the media about the possibility of Trump meeting Kim later this week, a senior White House official said “there are no plans for the meeting that you just mentioned,” adding that the purpose of the trip is for Trump to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in. 

US President Donald Trump. Yonhap

The answer from the White House echoes that from Cheong Wa Dae. On Monday, a high-level official at Seoul’s presidential office ruled out the possibility of a trilateral summit among the two Koreas and the US.

Trump is set to arrive in Seoul on Saturday for a two-day visit. Moon and Trump are scheduled to travel to Seoul on Saturday from Osaka, Japan, after attending the G-20 Summit, and to hold a bilateral summit the following day. A South Korean government official also confirmed news reports that Trump may visit the Demilitarized Zone during the trip.

The White House, however, has yet to confirm related news reports.

News of Trump’s upcoming visit to Seoul, on the heels of revelations that the US president and Kim have exchanged letters, has fueled speculation that a third Trump-Kim summit or a trilateral summit could be in the works.

Also on Monday, Trump revealed that Kim had wished him happy birthday in the letter, once again describing it as “very friendly.”

“He actually sent me birthday wishes, but it was just a very friendly letter both ways,” Trump told reporters at the White House. Trump turned 73 on June 14.

On June 11, Trump revealed that he had received a letter from Kim the previous day, saying it was a “beautiful” letter and “very warm.”

At the time, Trump also said he saw a chance of resuming US-North Korea dialogue. Moon commented that Kim’s letter to Trump contained “interesting” ideas.

Trump also sent Kim a letter in response, which the North’s state media revealed Sunday. According to the North Korean newspaper Rodong Sinmun, Kim described Trump’s letter as containing “excellent content” and expressed satisfaction with it.

The North Korean newspaper also reported that Kim “expressed his thanks for President Trump’s unusual political judgment and courage.” The paper also reported that Kim would carefully consider the ideas contained in the letter.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)