Gov't Still Hoping for Visit from Kim Jong-un This Year

  • By Lee Yong-soo, Lee Min-seok

    November 30, 2018 09:53

    The government is still determined to bring North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to Seoul in December despite being given the brush-off by Pyongyang.

    Seoul tried to invite Kim for Dec. 13 and 14 but shelved the plan when the North requested a delay. Now it has started talks with the U.S. to somehow make it happen.

    "President Moon Jae-in is considering the option of persuading North Korea again after gaining the U.S.' understanding," a source said Thursday.

    Moon is in Argentina for the G20 summit, where he plans to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines on Saturday to discuss the issue.

    The South informed the North that the optimum time for the visit would be Dec. 13 to 14, but North Korea requested that the trip be postponed until next year due to concerns for Kim's safety.

    But it now intends to push for the date again and discuss the matter with the U.S. at the G20. If Trump does not oppose the idea, it would send another invite to the North.

    Cheong Wa Dae ordered police to look into security for the visit. A government official said, "We checked three hotels in Seoul. There isn't much time, but we will be able to make preparations quickly once the order is given."

    The Institute for National Security Strategy said in a report Thursday, "A visit by Kim to the South before the end of this year is unlikely in the current circumstances, but given his style of leadership a surprise cannot be ruled out."

    "Although the chances are low, an informal meeting could take place in [the border truce village of] Panmunjom if there is a need to create momentum for a second U.S.-North Korea summit," the institute added.

    The government is determined to provide fresh momentum for U.S.-North Korea dialogue and implement inter-Korean agreements that are on ice while sanctions against the North continue. 

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