The details of when and where President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet have yet to be finalized, but one location both leaders appear to be agreeable to is Panmunjon in Korea’s Demilitarized Zone.
A Tuesday report from CNN cites an unidentified source as saying Kim has agreed upon the DMZ as a potential location for a meeting with Trump.
It is the same location where Kim meet with South Korean president President Moon Jae-in last weekend and discussed measures for ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
North Korea's Kim Jong Un and South Korea's Moon Jae-in met at the border village of Panmunjom for the first inter-Koreas summit in more than a decade. They agreed to work toward a permanent peace treaty and denuclearization. https://t.co/53k2cfhd70 pic.twitter.com/PFAm6Ua8qj
— NPR (@NPR) April 27, 2018
A spokesperson for the South Korean president said Moon believes the DMZ would be the most symbolic place for a meeting between Kim and Trump.
“(We) think Panmunjom is quite meaningful as a place to erode the divide and establish a new milestone for peace,” the spokesperson told reporters. “Wouldn’t Panmunjom be the most symbolic place?”
Trump has already said the location appeals to him, particularly after seeing images of the meetings between the Korean leaders meeting there last week.
“There’s something I like about it, because you’re there, if things work out, there’s a great celebration to be had on the site, not in a third-party country,” Trump said Monday.
The president also floated the idea of a meeting at the DMZ in a tweet early Monday.
Numerous countries are being considered for the MEETING, but would Peace House/Freedom House, on the Border of North & South Korea, be a more Representative, Important and Lasting site than a third party country? Just asking!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 30, 2018
Singapore was a close ally to the United States during the Cold War and currently hosts a U.S. military presence. It also has a diplomatic relationship with North Korea, and is one of just 47 countries to feature a North Korean embassy.
But Kim is reluctant to travel long distances by plane, fearing it makes him vulnerable to attack. In addition, the country’s fleet of aircraft is very old.
As a result, Kim’s preferred mode of travel is an armored train originally developed by his father, Kim Jong Il, who was leader of North Korea from 1994 to 2011.
“(Kim’s) fleet of aircraft are very old and (we’re) just honestly not sure if he can physically get to where he needs to go if its further than a certain number of miles away,” Jenna Gibson, director of communications at the Korea Economic Institute, told CNN. “Ultimately, they need a country where both leaders have the security they need, to have a country where they can meet in common ground … it’s a small number of countries to be honest.”
The Demilitarized Zone has other advantages, according to The New York Times.
“The Secret Service is used to securing the site for presidents, and security could be an issue in other countries, like Mongolia, while there are questions about Mr. Kim’s ability to travel long distances, given the rickety condition of his aircraft. Singapore is safe and politically inoffensive, but it is still 3,074 miles from Pyongyang,” the newspaper reports.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.