Trump may visit DMZ between North and South Korea

SEOUL, Oct 10 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump may travel to the heavily fortified demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea when he visits South Korea next month, the South's Yonhap news agency said on Tuesday, citing a defense source.

The White House sent an advance team of working-level officials in late September to check candidate sites for Trump's "special activity" in South Korea, the source was quoted as saying.

Trump was expected to send a significant message to North Korea, either verbally or "kinetically," during his first trip to the peninsula as U.S. commander-in-chief, the source said.

The truce village of Panmunjom and the observation post, both inside the DMZ, were among locations Trump was considering visiting, the source said.

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North Koreans celebrate the 20th anniversary of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's appointment as the General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang October 8, 2017 in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on October 9, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Fireworks explode as North Koreans celebrate the 20th anniversary of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's appointment as the General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang October 8, 2017 in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on October 9, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT.
North Koreans celebrate the 20th anniversary of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's appointment as the General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang October 8, 2017 in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on October 9, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT.
In a photo taken on October 8, 2017 participants described as 'working people, youth, and students of Pyongyang' perform during a mass gala event marking the 20th anniversary of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's election as general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) on Kim Il-Sung square in central Pyongyang. Meanwhile North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has promoted his sister to a senior ruling party post, state media said, and praised the country's nuclear weapons programme which has sparked international alarm. / AFP PHOTO / KIM Won-Jin (Photo credit should read KIM WON-JIN/AFP/Getty Images)
In a photo taken on October 8, 2017 participants described as 'working people, youth, and students of Pyongyang' perform during a mass gala event marking the 20th anniversary of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's election as general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) on Kim Il-Sung square in central Pyongyang. Meanwhile North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has promoted his sister to a senior ruling party post, state media said, and praised the country's nuclear weapons programme which has sparked international alarm. / AFP PHOTO / KIM Won-Jin (Photo credit should read KIM WON-JIN/AFP/Getty Images)
In a photo taken on October 8, 2017 participants described as 'working people, youth, and students of Pyongyang' perform during a mass gala event marking the 20th anniversary of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's election as general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) on Kim Il-Sung square in central Pyongyang. Meanwhile North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has promoted his sister to a senior ruling party post, state media said, and praised the country's nuclear weapons programme which has sparked international alarm. / AFP PHOTO / KIM Won-Jin (Photo credit should read KIM WON-JIN/AFP/Getty Images)
In a photo taken on October 8, 2017 participants described as 'working people, youth, and students of Pyongyang' perform during a mass gala event marking the 20th anniversary of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's election as general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) on Kim Il-Sung square in central Pyongyang. Meanwhile North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has promoted his sister to a senior ruling party post, state media said, and praised the country's nuclear weapons programme which has sparked international alarm. / AFP PHOTO / KIM Won-Jin (Photo credit should read KIM WON-JIN/AFP/Getty Images)
In a photo taken on October 8, 2017 participants described as 'working people, youth, and students of Pyongyang' perform during a mass gala event marking the 20th anniversary of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's election as general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) on Kim Il-Sung square in central Pyongyang. Meanwhile North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has promoted his sister to a senior ruling party post, state media said, and praised the country's nuclear weapons programme which has sparked international alarm. / AFP PHOTO / KIM Won-Jin (Photo credit should read KIM WON-JIN/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - In a photo taken on October 8, 2017 participants described as 'working people, youth, and students of Pyongyang' watch fireworks as they perform during a mass gala event marking the 20th anniversary of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's election as general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) on Kim Il-Sung square in central Pyongyang. Meanwhile North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has promoted his sister to a senior ruling party post, state media said, and praised the country's nuclear weapons programme which has sparked international alarm. / AFP PHOTO / KIM Won-Jin (Photo credit should read KIM WON-JIN/AFP/Getty Images)
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Yonhap did not elaborate and the White House did not comment.

Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have been engaged in an increasingly bellicose exchange of rhetoric, with Trump suggesting the military option was the only way to halt the North's missile and nuclear programs.

A trip to the DMZ, following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Barack Obama, and Vice President Mike Pence, would bring Trump within yards of North Korean soldiers, who stand eyeball to eyeball with their South Korean enemies, and likely be regarded by the North as highly provocative.

In recent weeks, North Korea has launched two missiles over Japan and conducted its sixth nuclear test, all in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions, and may be fast advancing toward its well publicized goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.

Trump repeatedly has made clear his distaste for dialog with North Korea. Last week, he dismissed the idea of talks as a waste of time, a day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington was maintaining open lines of communication with Kim Jong Un's government.

"Our country has been unsuccessfully dealing with North Korea for 25 years, giving billions of dollars & getting nothing. Policy didn't work!" the U.S. president said in a Twitter post on Monday.

Reclusive North Korea and the rich, democratic South are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. The North regularly threatens to destroy the South and its main ally, the United States.

Trump is scheduled to visit Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines starting from Nov. 3. (Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Alison Williams)

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Men rest on the North Korean side of the Yalu River north of the town of Sinuiju, North Korea, March 31, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj 
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A man and boys enter the water on an ox-cart from the North Korean side of the Yalu River, just north of the town of Sinuiju, North Korea, March 30, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj 
A North Korean soldier sits on a bank of the Yalu River just north of Sinuiju, North Korea, April 2, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Tourists walk on the Broken Bridge, bombed by the U.S. forces in the Korean War and now a tourist site, over the Yalu River that divides North Korea and China, in Dandong, China's Liaoning province, April 1, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj 

People gather around a fortune teller in front of the Broken and Friendship bridges across the Yalu River in Dandong, China's Liaoning province, March 30, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A North Korean soldier looks from a watchtower on the banks of the Yalu River, just north of Sinuiju, North Korea, March 31, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj 
North Korean soldiers patrol behind a border fence near the North Korean town of Sinuiju and Dandong in China's Liaoning province, March 31, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj 
A vendor receives Chinese money after selling North Korean goods to tourists on a boat taking them from the Chinese side of the Yalu River for sightseeing close to the shores of North Korea, near Dandong, China's Liaoning province, April 1, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj 
A girl stands on a ferry on the North Korean side of the Yalu River, just north of Sinuiju, North Korea, April 2, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj 
North Korean farmers work in a field as a section of the Great Wall is seen on the Chinese side of the Yalu River, north of the town of Sinuiju in North Korea and Dandong in China's Liaoning province, April 2, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj 
Lights are turned on on the Friendship and the Broken bridges over the Yalu River connecting the North Korean town of Sinuiju and Dandong in China's Liaoning province, March 30, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj 
Workers stand on pile of goods at a port near North Korean town of Sinuiju, across the Yalu River from Dandong, in China's Liaoning province, April 1, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj 
Tourists from the Chinese side of the Yalu River sail in front of a North Korean boat ferrying people north of the town of Sinuiju in North Korea and Dandong in China's Liaoning province, April 1, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj 
Tourists pose with Chinese flag on a boat taking them from the Chinese side of the Yalu River for sightseeing close to the the shores of North Korea, near Dandong, China's Liaoning province, April 1, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj 
Tourists gather to watch North Korean side of the Yalu River from the Broken Bridge, bombed by the U.S. forces in the Korean War and now a tourist site, in Dandong, China's Liaoning province, April 1, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj 
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A souvenir vendor takes a nap in front of barbed wire marking the border between North Korea and China, just north of Dandong in China's Liaoning province, April 2, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Tourists look from a boat taking them from the Chinese side of the Yalu River for sightseeing close to the shores of North Korea, near Dandong, China's Liaoning province, April 1, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj 
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A couple gets ready for their wedding photo session on a boat that takes tourists from Chinese side of the Yalu River for sightseeing close to the shores of North Korea, near Dandong, China's Liaoning province, March 30, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj 
A woman exercises as a man stands at the banks of the Yalu River across from the North Korean town of Sinuiju, in Dandong, China's Liaoning province, March 31, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj 
A rocking chair is placed on the balcony of a luxury apartment overlooking the North Korean town of Sinuiju, in Dandong, China's Liaoning province, March 30, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj 
A man pauses at the banks of the Yalu River across from the North Korean town of Sinuiju, in Dandong, China's Liaoning province, March 31, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
The North Korean side of the Yalu River and the Broken Bridge, bombed by U.S. forces in the Korean War and now a tourist site, are seen from a hotel room in Dandong, China's Liaoning province, April 2, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj 
A man carrying fishing net wades through shallow waters of the Yalu River between China and North Korea, north of Dandong, China's Liaoning province, April 1, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj 
The sun rises through fog over the Friendship and the Broken bridges over the Yalu River connecting the North Korean town of Sinuiju and Dandong in China's Liaoning province, March 30, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
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