North Korean diplomats have been dispatched to Bern, Davos and Geneva to look for potential venues, diplomatic sources told Japan's Kyodo news agency on Thursday.
No further meetings between the two leaders have been scheduled since their historic talks in Singapore last month, but rumours are swirling that the US could hold out the possibility of another meeting as a “carrot” to encourage the North Koreans to meet their commitment to denuclearize.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Pyongyang on Friday to press the government on its promises, after reports that North Korea had not only continued but stepped up its nuclear production following June's summit.
While US sources have discussed the idea of an encounter on home turf during September's UN General Assembly in New York, it wouldn't be entirely surprising if Kim preferred to meet in Switzerland.
The North Korean leader is believed to have spent more than ten years at schools in and around Bern, and requested his favourite fried rösti potatoes to be served at a recent summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Photo: Blue House/AFP
Switzerland also has the diplomatic chops. The famously neutral country has a long history of hosting tense talks, including the famous 1985 summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in Geneva, as well as multiple sessions between diplomats from Washington, Pyongyang, Seoul and Beijing.
In addition, Switzerland has for decades played a small but highly symbolic role in ensuring the continuation of the ceasefire between North Korea and South Korea. A small contingent of Swiss soldiers, along with a Swedish unit, are based in the South Korean section of the demilitarized zone between the two countries as part of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission.
Before officials choose Singapore for the last US-North Korea summit, Geneva had been hotly tipped to host it. According to Kyodo, Pyongyang may be hoping to hold a second meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2019.