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South Korea Rules Out Visit by North Korean Leader This Year

FILE - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in inside the Peace House at the border village of Panmunjom in Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, April 27, 2018.

South Korea says a visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to Seoul before the end of the year is unlikely.

Kim promised to visit the South Korean capital “in the near future” when he hosted President Moon Jae-in for their third summit of this year.

But a statement issued Thursday by the Blue House, South Korea’s presidential residence, quoted a senior adviser to President Moon as saying a visit by Kim Jong Un would be “difficult.” A visit by Kim would be the first by a North Korean leader to South Korea since the Korean Peninsula was divided after World War II.

Analysts say North Korea is cautious about giving a fixed date for Kim’s visit, because of security concerns in South Korea and the stalled negotiations with the United States over its nuclear weapons program.

The Blue House statement says Kim Jong Un could still visit Seoul early next year.