PRAGUE — When and if North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will visit South Korea mostly depends on the North Korean leader himself, a ranking South Korean official said Wednesday, saying Seoul continues to hope for Kim’s trip before the end of the year.
“We have consistently announced that we look forward to Chairman Kim Jong-un’s visit to Seoul before the year’s end,” the official from Seoul’s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.
“North Korea, on the other hand, may have to consider many issues,” the official told reporters, naming the proposed second US-North Korea summit as one of the issues that may require consideration by the North.
Kim earlier agreed to visit Seoul before the year’s end to reciprocate South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s trip to Pyongyang in September.
No date has yet been set for what would be Kim’s first-ever trip to Seoul, while many believe the trip may be pushed back until after the second US-North Korea summit.
US President Donald Trump has agreed to hold his second meeting with Kim, but not until the start of next year. The two first met in Singapore in June.
The Cheong Wa Dae official said Seoul had no need to wait for the US-North Korea summit to hold what would be a fourth inter-Korean summit between Moon and Kim, but that North Korea may have reasons to wait.
“We make decisions based on what best serves us, but to North Korea, it may have to decide whether it would be better (to hold an inter-Korean summit before the US-North Korea summit),” the official said, while speaking on condition of anonymity.
The official noted that Moon and Trump may discuss their separate meetings with the North Korean leader when they meet on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Argentina this week.
Moon arrived here on a two-day visit on Tuesday. He will head to the South American nation later in the day following his meeting with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis. (Yonhap)