Trump considering a visit to Korean DMZ

Posted at 9:13 PM, Jun 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-25 03:02:22-04

President Donald Trump is consideringa visit to the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea during his scheduled trip to Seoul, South Korea, after the G-20 summit, according to a South Korean government official.

A South Korean Blue House official told CNN that there are no plans for Trump to hold a trilateral meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leaderKim Jong Un during his visit to the Korean Peninsula, which will be Saturday and Sunday.

Trump is scheduled to meet with Moon Sunday, South Korean presidential spokesman Ko Min-jung said Monday.

A White House official, when asked about the DMZ visit, would not comment.

“We’re not going into details of the President’s schedule yet. There are some things that are still coming together,” the official said.

The DMZ is a heavily fortified border that divides the two Koreas, about 30 miles north of Seoul that was established in the 1953 Korean War Armistice Agreement.

The President attempted to visit the DMZ during a visit to South Korea in November 2017, but was forced to turn back due to bad weather. Other officials from the administration have visited the demilitarized zone, including Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

Leaders who visit the DMZ often go to the Joint Security Area, a small portion of the DMZ where North and South Koreans used to stand face to face, guns at the ready. Former US PresidentBill Clinton once called it “scariest place on earth.”

Moon and Kim have sought to recalibrate the Joint Security Area as a symbol of peace rather than one of war. The leaders of the two Koreas met there twice last year and vowed to turn the entire DMZ into what they called a “peace zone.”

To that end, the two Koreas and the United Nations Command that administers the southern part of the DMZ last year removed all mines from the region and withdrew all guard posts, firearms and ammunition from the Joint Security Area.

Trump and Kim reportedly considered using the area for their own historic meeting before deciding on Singapore.

The Joint Security Areaproved a fitting backdrop for Moon and Kim’s first summitin April, which proved to be a highly choreographed event laden with symbolism.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect that Trump is considering visiting the DMZ after the G-20 summit and to clarify that there are no plans for a trilateral meeting between Trump, Moon and Kim, according to a South Korean official.