In the lead up to the historic meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un set to happen sometime in May of this year, Ulaanbaatar has been vaulted into the conversation to host the much anticipated peace talks.
The meeting will make Trump the first ever US President to meet with a North Korean leader. On Friday, former President Ts.Elbegdorj took to twitter to commemorate a “long water breakthrough”. The fourth president of Mongolia also took the opportunity to make an offer to host the historic talks in Ulaanbaatar.
“Korean Peninsula: A long waited breakthrough! Here is an offer: US President Trump and NK leader Kim meet in UB. Mongolia is the most suitable, neutral territory. We facilitated important meetings, including between Japan and NK. Mongolia’s continuing legacy – UB dialogue on NEA,” Ts.Elbegdorj tweeted on Friday.
During his presidency, Ts.Elbegdorj was at the forefront of trying to champion Mongolia and specifically Ulaanbaatar as a neutral location to hold peace talks with North Korea. In his tweet, Ts.Elbegdorj alludes to the fact that Mongolia has been a mediator between Japan and North Korea for talks regarding abducted Japanese citizens.
As Mongolia still maintains friendly diplomatic relations with both the US and North Korea, many have noted that it is not outside the realm of possibility. In fact, reports indicate that lower level government meetings between North Korea and the US has taken place in Mongolia recently as the two countries initiated preliminary meetings.
The White House confirmed talks between the leaders will be held “at a place and time to be determined” but South Korea claims that a meeting would take place by May.
Outside of the US and North Korea, the demilitarized zone at the border of South Korea and North Korea was cited as a possible location for the meeting. Apart from Mongolia, countries such as Sweden and Switzerland have issued statements offering to help facilitate the meeting.
South Korean national security adviser Chung Eui Yong said that Jong-un “expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible.”
US president Donald Trump tweeted to his 48 million followers that “great progress” was being made and that a meeting was “being planned”.
“Kim Jong-un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time.Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned,” Trump said.