SEOUL – US President Donald J. Trump has made history becoming the first US president to set foot in North Korea during a meeting in the Demilitarized Zone with Kim Jong Un.
A social media request for a quick handshake turned historic Sunday when President Donald Trump became the first U.S. president to set foot in North Korea during a meeting in the Demilitarized Zone with Kim Jong Un.
“It’s just an honor to be with you and it was an honor that you asked me to step over that line,” Trump told the North Korean leader. “And I was proud to step over that line.”
President Trump added that it was “a great day for the world.”
President Trump had said the duo would merely conduct a brief handshake, but they met for almost an hour. Afterward, Trump said each leader will provide a team of negotiators for talks aimed at persuading Kim to dismantle a nuclear weapons program that has kept the Korean Peninsula on edge for years.
Trump reaches out to Kim on Twitter
Trump suggested the meeting in a tweet Thursday: “After some very important meetings, including my meeting with President Xi of China, I will be leaving Japan for South Korea (with President Moon). While there, if Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!”
Kim agrees to meeting
President Trump, still in Japan, said the Koreans responded “very favorably” to his suggestion. Sunday, Kim gave Trump props for reaching out. “I believe this is an expression of his willingness to eliminate all the unfortunate past and open a new future,” he said.
A photo opportunity, and maybe more
Cameras clicked and whirred as President Trump, during a planned visit to South Korea, made his side trip to the DMZ for the handshake seen around the world.
Kim asked Trump if he wanted to step into North Korea, and the duo took about 10 steps in the North.
They then walked back before retreating to Freedom House for their private chat. They emerged with an agreement to kick-start talks that had seen little movement since their summit in February in Vietnam.
By John Bacon