Seoul: United States President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, making him the first sitting US president to set foot in the former enemy territory.
“This is a historic moment,” said Kim after Trump entered North Korea, crossing the military demarcation line separating the two Koreas.
“Stepping across that line was a great honour,” Trump said, adding that his and Kim’s was a “great friendship,” CNN reported.
After a handshake with Kim, Trump walked 20 steps into North Korea. He also invited Kim to the White House.
It may be noted that no North Korean leader has visited the US so far.
“I’ll invite him to the White House right now,” Trump said, shortly after becoming the first sitting US President to cross into North Korea.
“It’s good to see you again. I didn’t expect to meet you at this place,” said Kim
The meeting comes a day after Trump surprised everyone by offering to meet Kim at the Inter-Korean border.
“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(?)!” the US President had tweeted on Saturday.
“I was very surprised to hear about your offer on the tweet and only late in the afternoon, I was able to confirm your invitation. I had wanted to meet you again and especially for both Koreas, this place is a sign of the unfortunate history of the past,” Kim said.
This is the third time this year that the two leaders are coming face to face, the last meeting being in May at Hanoi.
Denuclearisation talks hit a roadblock after the second Summit in Vietnam ended abruptly with no joint statement being released. The two sides reportedly failed to resolve their differences over sanction waiver.
The possibility of an agreement between the two countries has apparently suffered a setback after North Korea tested multiple short-range missiles last month as a sign of apparent frustration over the stalled negotiations and continuing sanctions.
Pyongyang has repeatedly insisted that the removal of penalties will help spur economic growth, while Washington has reaffirmed that sanctions will not be removed till the communist country completely stopped its nuclear weapons program.