Trump Meets North Korea’s Kim Jong Un And Says Nuclear Negotiations Will Resume.
Donald Trump has become the first sitting US president to set foot in North Korea, after meeting Kim Jong-un in the area dividing the two Koreas.
PANMUNJOM, South Korea — President Trump met Kim Jong Un at the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea on Sunday, and briefly crossed into North Korea, marking the first time a sitting U.S. president has ever done so.
After shaking hands with Kim over the line that marks where their two countries and their allies fought each other to a standstill in the 1950-53 Korean War, Trump walked for several steps into North Korean territory, before another handshake.
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Moments after becoming the only sitting US president to set foot inside North Korea, Trump brought Kim back over the dividing line for a meeting where they agreed to start working-level talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons
With the highly symbolic gesture, Trump became the first sitting US president to set foot on North Korean soil.
The leaders shook hands on the North Korean side of the DMZ, making Trump the first sitting American president to ever set foot in the hermit state, before crossing together to south side and shaking hands again.
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Kim said this was “an expression of his willingness” to work toward a new future.
Trump made the surprise announcement hours earlier of his intention to meet Kim at the Joint Security Area patrolled by soldiers from both Koreas near the inter-Korean border.
Trump announced that new teams would be set up by the three parties to the negotiations. Asked by journalists if he believed that North Korea’s previous negotiators were still alive, he replied: “I think so.”
What happened at the DMZ?
In a meeting apparently arranged after Mr Trump invited Mr Kim on Twitter on Saturday, they shook hands across the demarcation line between the Koreas before Mr Trump briefly crossed into North Korea, a symbolic milestone.
“Good to see you again. I never expected to meet you at this place,” a smiley Mr Kim told Mr Trump through an interpreter in an encounter broadcast live on international television.
“Big moment,” Mr Trump said, “tremendous progress.”
Looking relaxed, Mr Kim crossed into South Korea and alongside Mr Trump said: “I believe this is an expression of his willingness to eliminate all the unfortunate past and open a new future.”
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The encounter had initially been described as a brief greeting but Mr Trump and Mr Kim ended up talking for almost an hour in a building known as the Freedom House, on the South Korean side.
For a brief moment, Mr Trump and Mr Kim were joined by South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in, an unprecedented three-way gathering.
Speaking next to Mr Trump in a rare statement to the press, Mr Kim said their meeting was a symbol of their “excellent” relationship.
Calling their friendship “particularly great”, Mr Trump – who once referred to Mr Kim as “little rocket man” – said it was a “great day for the world” and that he was “proud to step over the line” between the Koreas.
Numerous US presidents have visited the armistice line that has divided the peninsula since hostilities in the Korea War ended in 1953, largely to show support for the South.
But Mr Trump changed the optics of the visit, eschewing the binoculars and a bomber jacket worn by President Barack Obama for a business suit.
Former US presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have both been to North Korea – flying into the capital, Pyongyang – but only after they left office.