President Donald Trump has become the first US President to step into North Korea after meeting Kim Jong Un at the border in a last-minute meeting arranged via Twitter.
The US President greeted the North Korean leader with a cross-border handshake at the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which separates North and South Korea, on Sunday.
In a historic moment, Mr Trump then stepped into North Korea, becoming the first US President to make the move The pair then posed together for photographs before Kim crossed the demarcation line and entered South Korea.
Hailing the moment as a “great honour”, Mr Trump said the meeting represented a sign of progress between the two nations. The pair later confirmed that they had agreed to restart stalled nuclear talks within weeks, but added that “speed is not the object”.
He added that it felt “great” to be the first US President to go to North Korea, adding: “I was proud to step over the line”.
He also spokes of his “great friendship” with Kim, adding that the two countries had agreed to resume talks and that he would potentially invite the North Korean leader to the White House.
Mr Trump said before the meeting that he and Kim “had respect for each other and maybe even liked each other”.
Kim said that Mr Trump’s brief visit to North Korean territory improves ties, hailing the move as “courageous and determined” and admitting that he was “surprised” by the suggestion of the meeting.
He said of Mr Trump: “I believe this is an expression of his willingness to eliminate all the unfortunate past and open a new future.”
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.
The meeting came about when Mr Trump sent a tweet on Friday, asking Kim if he wanted to meet while the US President was in South Korea, following the G20 summit in Japan.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in later announced that Kim had accepted the invitation.
Mr Trump said before the meeting that he and Kim will “just shake hands quickly and say hello” at the historic meeting at the Korean border village.
But it became a lot more than that when Mr Trump stepped over the border and the pair began private talks which lasted 50 minutes.
The two leaders also gave a press conference in a building known as Freedom House on the South Korean side of the truce village of Panmunjom.
Mr Trump was joined in the Freedom House conversation with Kim by his daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, both senior White House advisors.
As he announced the resumptions of talks, Mr Trump told reporters “we’re not looking for speed. We’re looking to get it right.”
He added that economic sanctions on the North would remain, but seemed to move off the administration’s previous rejection of scaling down sanctions in return for North Korean concessions, saying: “At some point during the negotiation things can happen.”
Ahead of the meeting with Kim, Mr Trump met with several dozen troops stationed at the DMZ and told them: “We’re with you all the way.” The troops include both U.S. solders as well as South Korean troops.
He was shown various landmarks as he stands on top of Observation Post Ouellette.
Mr Trump was accompanied by the South Korean President, who praised Mr Trump’s decision to meet Kim as “bold”.
Every US president since Ronald Reagan has visited the 1953 armistice line, except for George H.W. Bush, who visited as vice president.
Source: Evening Standard