World

Trump ‘not yet ready’ to visit NKorea

By AAP Newswire

US President Donald Trump says conditions are not yet ready for him to visit North Korea, after a newspaper report that Kim Jong Un had invited him to Pyongyang.

"The relationship is very good but I don't want to comment on that," Trump told reporters at the White House when asked whether Kim had invited him to North Korea.

A South Korean newspaper on Monday cited diplomatic sources as saying Kim had invited the US President to visit Pyongyang in a letter sent in August, amid stalled denuclearisation talks.

Trump said he would "probably not" be inclined to visit North Korea in the short term, but did not rule out an eventual visit.

"I would do it ... at some time in a later future, and depending on what happens I'm sure he'll love coming to the United States also. But, no, I don't think it's ready for that. I think we have a ways to go yet," Trump said.

Kim, in the letter sent in the third week of August, spoke of his "willingness" for a third summit and extended an invitation for Trump to visit the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported, citing an unidentified source.

Trump and Kim have met three times since June last year to discuss ways to resolve a crisis over North Korea's missile and nuclear programs, but substantive progress has been scant.

Their second summit, in Vietnam in February, broke down after they failed to narrow a gap between US demands for North Korean denuclearisation and a North Korean demand for relief from sanctions.

They met for a third time on June 30 in the Demilitarised Zone between the two Koreas and agreed to restart working-level talks but that has not happened.

Since the June meeting, North Korea has several times tested short-range missiles.

An unidentified director-general for US affairs at North Korea's foreign ministry said on Monday he hoped a "good meeting" with working-level US officials would take place "in a few weeks".