Sunday,30 Jun 2019
Seoul: (IANS) US President Donald Trump on Sunday became the first sitting American leader to step foot into North Korea after he briefly entered the country before holding a bilateral meeting with Pyongyang's Kim Jong-un at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), that divides the two Koreas.
Trump, who is on a two-day visit to South Korea, first walked toward the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), which divides the truce village of Panmunjom, also called the Joint Security Area. Then Kim showed up and approached Trump, reports Yonhap News Agency.
They shook hands and crossed the line together into the northern side. They posed for photos before walking across it into South Korea.
Trump told the media that it was a "great honour to cross that line (DMZ)".
This was the first time for leaders of the two nations to hold a meeting at Panmunjom since the Korean War ended with the Armistice Agreement in 1953.
Kim, meanwhile, deemed the meeting "as a "historic moment", adding that the crossing reflected his decision to open a new future in Pyongyang-Washington relations.
They were later joined by South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The three leaders walked into the Freedom House, a building on the southern side.
Kim and Trump were seated together for joint press availability and apparently held closed-door bilateral talks.
Following the bilateral talks, Trump told the media that he agreed with Kim to restart talks after nuclear negotiations stalled earlier this year after the two leaders met for a second time in Hanoi, Vietnam. Kim and Trump first came face-to-face during their historic summit last June in Singapore.
"We just had a very, very good meeting with Chairman Kim," Trump said after parting with the North Korean leader at the DMZ.
Trump added that the teams would begin working and meeting over the next two to three weeks. The American side will be represented by US special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun.
Trump has also invited Kim to Washington, but it was not immediately clear if the latter has accepted the invitation.
If Kim accepts the invitation, it would be the first time a North Korean leader will visit the US.
The Trump-Kim meeting was confirmed earlier in the day by South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Presidential Palace here during a joint press conference with his American counterpart, Yonhap reported.
Trump arrived at the Presidential Palace after attending a "business leaders' event" on Sunday morning with the heads of some South Korean conglomerates.
During his previous visit to South Korea in November 2017, Trump pushed for a DMZ trip with Moon by chopper. But it was cancelled due to bad weather.
The US President will return to Washington from Seoul later in the day.