SEOUL, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- South Korea's presidential office concluded that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is not likely to visit Seoul before the end of the year, a government official told South Korean media Wednesday.
A presidential official told Yonhap News that Kim may not be able to visit the South Korean capital this year due to a few challenges, such as security concerns, domestic politics and a preparation for a summit with the U.S.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in invited Kim to Seoul when he visited the North Korean capital of Pyongyang in September for a summit. South Korea reportedly sent an invitation to Kim to visit sometime this week but North Korea hasn't replied.
Another government official told Hankyoreh that Kim's visit before the end of the year may not be easy since the North may need to start preparing for a summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump earlier next year.
Trump said earlier that a second summit with Kim will likely take place in January or February. The first summit was held in June in Singapore.
"It looks like the visit before the end of the year is difficult. It could happen after the U.S.-North Korea summit," another official told Hankyoreh.
Kim seems to need some time to mull over the invitation from Seoul since he made little progress in denuclearization talks with the U.S., according to a South Korean expert on North Korean issues.
"North Korea knows that it needs to make bold measures for denuclearization, such as reporting existing nuclear weapons, in addition to the pledge to dismantle the Yongbyon nuclear facility," said Cho Seong-ryoul, a senior researcher at the Seoul-based Institute for National Security Strategy, in the Hankyoreh report.
Still, hopes are high for Kim's possible visit to Seoul.
South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said the North-South summit could inject momentum for an upcoming summit between the U.S. and North Korea, Hankyoreh reported.
"It could serve as a stepping stone for the summit between the North and the U.S.," said Cho at a forum on Tuesday.
"We continue to discuss with the North and look forward to a reply," he said.