„There are lots of considerations and conditions that must be met to make Kim’s visit to Seoul happen. But doing so is becoming difficult,“ the aide told reporters on condition of anonymity. „Still, we are discussing the matter thoroughly but carefully.“
This is the first time the presidential office has officially mentioned a possible schedule change for Kim Jong-un’s visit to Seoul since the North’s leader made a promise to visit Seoul „in the near future“ this year. Kim’s remarks about traveling to Seoul were made during a news conference in Pyongyang with President Moon Jae-in. If it happens, it would be the first-ever official visit to South Korea by a North Korean head of state.
Moon later added that what Kim meant by the „near future“ was „this year.“ As the denuclearization talks were seeing little progress, Cheong Wa Dae said it was still hoping Kim to visit Seoul „soon.“
„Our key considerations are whether it would be good for the North’s leader Kim to visit here before or after his upcoming summit with the U.S. President Donald Trump, and what scenario would be most beneficial in terms of bringing lasting peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula,“ the official said.
He added South Korea is discussing with the United States and North Korea to set up a timeline to officially end the Korean War, which appears to be a central sticking point to advance the denuclearization talks.
The comments came after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently told a U.S. news outlet that Washington is „prepared to be patient“ in handling North Korea as long as it stays away from nuclear and missile tests.
In a teleconferencing interview with U.S. radio station KFDI, Pompeo didn’t mention when he plans to meet his North Korean counterpart Kim Yong-chol ahead of the second Kim-Trump summit.