Alwaght- Leaders of the US and North Korea have met at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas.
During a brief outdoors meeting on Sunday, Donald Trump stepped over the demarcation line into North Korean territory and Kim Jong Un into South Korean territory, marking historic firsts.
“This is my honor. I didn’t expect it. Stepping across that line was a great honor,” Trump said.
Kim, for his part, said, “President Trump just crossed… became first US president to visit our country. This is an expression of his willingness to eliminate the aggression of the past and open a new future.”
Trump also said that “a lot of positive things are happening… we met and we liked each other from day one. And that’s very important.”
“We’re going to go and talk for a while,” the US president said before the two headed back into the South for follow-up discussions.
Trump also said that he invited Kim Jong-un to visit the US “when the time is right.”
Trump was touring the DMZ accompanied by South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Sunday ahead of the meeting.
A day earlier, he joined a press conference with Moon, saying he had sent out a last-minute invitation to Kim for the meeting over Twitter toward the end of his trip to the South.
“I’ll be meeting with Chairman Kim. I look forward to it very much. I look forward to seeing him. We’ve developed a very good relationship,” Trump told the presser.
Against a backdrop of sheer hostility, marked by fiery exchanges between the two, Trump suddenly opened up to Kim last year and began voicing hope about the quality of potential relations between their countries.
The two heads of state met for the first time in Singapore last year on Washington’s initiative, with a view to enabling the North’s denuclearization.
They met for a second summit in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, in February. But that summit abruptly ended over disagreements on mutual compromises.
Subsequent working-level talks also effectively snagged.
However, a recent exchange of affable messages between the leaders of the two countries again raised hopes for the revival of talks.
The US has over the years imposed or spearheaded rounds of sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs.
Washington now demands that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons entirely before the sanctions are lifted; Pyongyang insists on a step-by-step approach that would include verifiable American commitment to end its massive military presence near its territorial waters.