May 1 (UPI) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in has reportedly convinced North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to hold his summit meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas, otherwise known as the village of Panmunjom, CNN reported Tuesday.
According to the U.S. broadcaster, a source with “deep knowledge on North Korea” said it is likely that the summit — the first ever between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader — would likely take place on the North’s side of the inter-Korean truce village.
This would provide a historic opportunity for Trump, as well as make logistic sense for Kim, the source said, adding that the media facilities and equipment from the recent inter-Korean summit would also be used for the subsequent U.S.-North Korea talks.
This comes amid speculation that Washington has narrowed down its list of potential venues to two or three locations, which most experts believe include Mongolia’s Ulaanbaatar and Singapore.
Trump and Moon are said to have discussed the options in their 75-minute phone call over the weekend, according to Seoul’s top office.
A South Korean presidential official suggested Tuesday that the inter-Korean border village would be a symbolic and meaningful place to hold peace talks.
Trump, himself, on Monday expressed enthusiasm about Panmunjom, saying, “There’s something I like about it, because if you’re there, if things work out, there’s a great celebration to be had on the site, not in a third party country.”
He also tweeted Monday, “asking” whether the inter-Korean summit venue in Panmunjom would be a more meaningful site to hold the Washington-Pyongyang talks, rather than a third party coutry.
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
South Korean experts last week, also, suggested the U.S. president would want to hold the historic summit on North Korean soil.
“Trump will want to meet at Pyongyang, given his ego. He would want to compare himself to Nixon in Beijing,” said Kim Jun-hyoung, Professor of Handong University, during a debate session inside the inter-Korean summit press center.
“If some big deal is possible, he will not pass the chance. So, he will go to Pyongyang.”
“If I were President Trump, I would go to Pyongyang. He would be the first U.S. leader meeting [a North Korean leader] in Pyongyang. This means all the spot light, cameras, mass media beaming on him,” said Kim Ji-yoon, Research Fellow at Asan Institute for Policy Studies.
The U.S.-North Korea summit is expected to take place in May.