Donald Trump becomes first US President to step into North Korea
Kim Jong Un agreed to meet Trump with just two days notice, after he issued and invitation for the summit over Twitter. As they greeted each other over the border, both leaders said: ‘It is good to see you again.’ Kim Jong Un added: ‘I never thought I would meet you in this place.’ The pair then shared a historic handshake, before Kim issued the invitation for Trump to make the symbolic step over the border line. It is the third time the two leaders have met, and the first since a failed summit on the North’s nuclear programme in Vietnam earlier this year.
Mr Trump briefly crossed the border at the demilitarised zone (DMZ) into North Korea after greeting Mr Kim. There are as yet no indications of a breakthrough in the stalled negotiations to end the North’s nuclear programme. Although it was thought the pair were just meeting for a handshake at the border, they spent 50 minutes in a private meeting – suggesting more serious discussions were held. For many, it was never thought the two would meet at the border, which has been the site of rising tensions between the North and the US-backed South since it was created in 1953.
The two have so far had a tumultous two-year relationship, with threats by both nations to destroy the other have been ushered out by on-again, off-again talks, professions of love and flowery letters. They have also traded insults, withTrump famously calling Kim ‘little rocket man’ and threatening to meet any show of force with ‘fire and fury’. Trump called their meeting ‘tremendous progress’ and added: ‘We met and we liked each other from day one and that was very important.’ Both leaders then stepped into a building known as the ‘Freedom House’ on the South side of the DMZ with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to continue their discussions.
Kim also praised their relationship and told the assembled press: ‘If it was not for the excellent relationship between the two of us this would not have been possible. ‘I believe with a meeting here, which is a symbol of division and the hostile past, we are showcasing to the world that we have a positive meeting going forward.’ Trump was keen not to undermine just how monumental their meeting was. After Kim had finished speaking, Trump noted it was rare for his North Korean counterpart to speak to the press. He said: ‘You hear the power of that voice, no one heard that voice before.
This is a historic moment that fact that were meeting I want to thank chairman Kim for something else. ‘When I put the invitation out on social media and if Kim didn’t show up, the press would make me look very bad. ‘It was an honor you asked me to step over that line. I enjoy being with you, and thank you very much.’ He continued: ‘I think the relationship that we’ve developed has meant so much for so many people.’