WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- President Donald Trump on Sunday became the first sitting U.S. president to visit North Korean soil when he walked over into the Demilitarized Zone that divides North and South Korea.
- After shaking hands with Kim Jong Un, the two leaders held an impromptu meeting with the North Korean leader.
- Trump said they had agreed to form teams to restart working-level talks, which will still be led by U.S. special envoy for North Korea, Steve Biegun.
President Donald Trump made history by becoming the first sitting U.S. president to set foot at North Korea when he stepped across the border at the DMZ — demilitarized zone.
After shaking hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Panmunjom border village on Sunday, Trump walked across the military demarcation line separating the North and South Korea. The two leaders then crossed the border back into South Korea.
“Good to see you again,” Kim told the U.S. president. “I never expected to see you in this place.”
Trump replied: “Stepping across that line was a great honor,” then invited Kim to the U.S. for another meeting.
On Saturday, Trump had said the meeting would only last two minutes. But, Trump’s private meeting with Kim lasted nearly 50 minutes, turning it into an impromptu summit.
After his meeting with Kim, Trump announced they had agreed to form teams to restart working-level talks.
“They will meet over the next few weeks and they’re going to start a process and we’ll see what happens,” Trump said. “Speed is not the object … we want a really comprehensive, good deal.”
If the meeting will push through, it will be the third summit between Kim and Trump. The first summit was hosted by Singapore in June last year while the second was held in Vietnam in February this year.
Trump announced that U.S. special envoy for North Korea, Steve Biegun, will still lead his negotiating team. He added that North Korea “was also putting someone in charge who we know and who we like.”
The first two summits broke down over disagreements about how to pace sanctions relief with North Korea’s steps to dismantle its nuclear weapons.
“It’s where we were about 15 months ago,” said Vipin Narang, a nuclear expert and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “One step forward, two steps back. But this is one step forward.”
“Given where we were last week, it’s not nothing,” the scientist said.
Trump went to the DMZ with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. They briefly appeared in public together before Trump and Kim had their private talks.
At an earlier military briefing with Moon at a DMZ lookout point, Trump said the demilitarized zone used to be “very, very dangerous … but after our first summit, all the danger went away.”
Trump also defended his North Korea policy and blasted media that have questioned whether he should meet with Kim, given that talks with North Korea are stalled.
Source: VOA News