South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday (Dec 4) a visit to Seoul by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was "a possibility" and that such a trip would help to improve Pyongyang's relationship with the United States. Moon spoke to reporters on Saturday aboard his presidential plane en route to New Zealand from Argentina, where he met Trump on the sidelines of a Group of 20 Nations summit.
"President Trump asked me to forward to [Kim] these messages; he has a very friendly view of Chairman Kim Jong Un and likes him".
Washington has said it will not reduce sanctions until North Korea has denuclearized, rejecting pressure from South Korean President Moon Jae-in and numerous members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to roll back restrictions. Moon said it's still unclear whether Kim will visit Seoul by the end of this year, and that it's up to the North Korean leader. After their third meeting in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, in September, Moon said Kim agreed to make a reciprocal visit to Seoul this year.
He added that at some point he will invite Mr Kim to the US. But progress has been slow, with the two countries sparring over the exact meaning of the agreement.
"This will be the first time that the North Korean leader will visit Seoul since Korea was divided into two countries", he said. North Korea has taken few concrete steps to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
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Moon's programme in Auckland includes a ceremony of welcome and a state lunch hosted by Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy at Government House, a wreath laying ceremony and tour of Auckland War Memorial Museum, and an engagement with the Korean community in Auckland.
Trump, who met Kim in Singapore in June, said on Saturday that he is likely to meet the North Korean leader for a second time in January or February, with three sites for their meeting under consideration.
A USA think tank said last month it had identified at least 13 of an estimated 20 active, undeclared missile bases inside North Korea, underscoring the challenge for American negotiators hoping to persuade Kim to give up his weapons programs.
"I think it will be absolutely imperative in this next summit that we come away with a plan for identifying all of the weapons in question, identifying all the development sites, allowing for inspections of the sites and the plan for dismantling nuclear weapons", Pence said.