Published: Mon, July 01, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Donald Trump meets Kim Jong-un in demilitarised zone for first time

Donald Trump meets Kim Jong-un in demilitarised zone for first time

President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the heavily fortified border between North and South Korea on Sunday, their third high-stakes meeting since they launched negotiations previous year to resolve the nuclear crisis.

January 1, 2019: Kim in his New Year's Day speech says he hopes to continue his nuclear summitry with Trump, but also that he would seek a "new way" if the United States persists with sanctions and pressure against North Korea.

"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 (?)!" Trump later said Kim agreed to restart denuclearization talks and invited him to the U.S. Since then the negotiations have stalled, though Mr Kim and Mr Trump have exchanged letters recently.

"It was an honour that you asked me to step over that line, and I was proud to step over the line", Trump told Kim.

The US president and the North Korean leader then spent almost an hour in a meeting with both countries agreeing to set up teams to restart nuclear talks.

Most infamously, axe-wielding North Korean soldiers in the DMZ in 1976 murdered two American soldiers who were cutting down a tree to secure a clear view. Diplomacy can only begin when both sides are willing to meet and talk. "I never expected to meet you at this place", a smiley Mr Kim told Mr Trump through an interpreter in an encounter broadcast live on global television.

According to The Times, the administration wants to get North Korea to agree on expanding the definition of the Yongbyon site, and if that happens, it could effectively result in the nuclear freeze.

Sanctions on North Korea, he added, would remain in place though he appeared to leave open the possibility of easing them as part of the talks.

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And a sequel could be in the works: Trump told reporters he had invited Kim to Washington.

In a tweet, President Trump reiterated the significance of his meeting with Kim.

One of the main issues they discussed previous year was removing all of the nuclear weapons from Korea.

Trump had predicted the two would greet one another for about "two minutes", but they ended up spending more than an hour together.

"It says to our allies, to everyone we do business with, that the only people who matter are Trump and his family members", he said.

Mr Trump said he had "plenty of time" and was in "no rush" to reach a deal.

The Times, which noted that United States officials previously said they would never support such a plan, said officials in the administration hope the idea "might create a foundation for a new round of negotiations" with North Korea and noted that the administration's current goal is still to fully denuclearize the country.

When nuclear talks resume after Sunday's off-the-cuff meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the inter-Korean border, negotiators will be revisiting old disagreements that have scuttled previous talks. They were in the room for Mr Trump and Mr Kim's chat.

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