By Toluse Olorunnipa
Toluse Olorunnipa is an author at Bloomberg Quint.
South Korean President Moon Jae-In plans to travel to Washington May 22 in advance of a historic planned summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the White House said Friday.
Trump and his national security team will welcome Moon to the White House as they prepare for a meeting with Kim that could happen in a matter of weeks. Trump told reporters Friday that a time and location had already been set for the summit, but didn’t elaborate.
Moon has played a central role in calming tensions on the Korean peninsula, holding several historic meetings with representatives of the Kim regime and pushing for a peace deal with North Korea to officially end the Korean War.
Moon is scheduled to travel to Tokyo next week for meetings with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang for a summit between the three countries largely focused on North Korea.
Trump first announced that he was willing to meet with Kim after envoys from South Korea visited him at the White House with a direct message from the North Korean leader. Since that announcement in March, Trump dispatched his CIA Director Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang to meet with Kim. Pompeo has since been confirmed as Secretary of State.
On April 27, Kim crossed the demarcation line that for 68 years has divided North Korea and South Korea, and held a meeting with Moon. The crossing was first ever by a North Korean leader within the Demilitarized Zone that runs along the countries’ shared border.
After that meeting, which produced historic images, Trump has proposed that his upcoming meeting with Kim be held there as well. Trump said Monday that he had relayed to Moon his interest having the meeting there.
“There’s something that I like about it because you’re there,” Trump said Monday during a joint press conference with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at the White House. “You’re actually there — where, if things work out, there’s a great celebration to be had on the site, not in a third-party country.”
On Saturday, the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, citing diplomatic sources in Washington, said that the summit would most likely to be held in Singapore in the third week of June.
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