U.S. President Donald said he is considering the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) as a possible site for the summit with North Korea to be held around May 20, the same location where South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un met. “Peace House, Freedom House, and there's something that I thought was intriguing, and I think that some people maybe don't like the look of that, and some people like it very much,” Trump said on Twitter. “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.” He also said he discussed this matter with Moon, who delivered this message to the North.
Trump’s remarks indicate that the location is most likely to be held in Panmunjom. Panmunjom, whose official name is Joint Security Area (JSA), is where the ceasefire agreement was made during the Korean War and is a place that symbolizes separation and confrontation between the two Koreas for the past 65 years. It will be the best site for the three leaders to discuss peace on the Korean Peninsula. The southern area is under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Command headed by U.S. Forces Korea commander. It is also a familiar area for the United States. Under the jurisdiction of the UN Command, Freedom House is managed by the Ministry of Unification and Peace House by the National Intelligence Service.
Even though Trump said he was considering other locations such as Singapore, but if the summit is held in Panmunjom, then it would also be a missed opportunity to invite Kim to the Western world. After studying in Switzerland, Kim only visited China three times since he took office.
The upcoming U.S.-North Korea summit could also lead to a trilateral summit between the two Koreas and the U.S. The two Koreas agreed to announce cessation of hostilities this year and to hold a three-way summit with the United States or a four-way summit with the United States and China, which means Panmunjom could be the site for the three leaders to announce the end of war. It would be an achievement of Moon’s diplomacy, but it also means more work for South Korea.
Various events could be held in Panmunjom, which signal peace on the Korean Peninsula. But big expectations come with big risks. Unlike the inter-Korean summit that went smoothly, Trump and Kim could turn into tough negotiators in the summit. The agenda themselves are not easy ones. Especially Trump says he will leave the meeting room if there is no achievement. The U.S.-North Korea summit will be assessed by its tangible outcome, as it is not a symbolic event. The outcome of the summit should be a solid agreement to lead North Korea to denuclearization and achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula.