The United States (US) President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stepped over the border at the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) that divides the Korean Peninsula, after shaking hands on Sunday.
With the highly symbolic gesture, Trump became the first sitting US president to set foot on North Korean soil.
What originally was intended to be an impromptu exchange of pleasantries turned into a 50-minute meeting, another historic first in the year-long rapprochement between the two nations, which are still technically at war with each other.
It marks a return to face-to-face contact between the leaders after talks broke down during a summit in Vietnam in February.
Trump announced afterward that the two nations had agreed to resume discussions in the coming weeks.
Significant doubts remain, though, about the future of the negotiations and the North’s willingness to give up its stockpile of nuclear weapons.
“Stepping across that line was a great honour,” Trump said at a joint news conference with Kim. “It’s a great day for the world,” he added.
“I want to thank Chairman Kim for something else; when I put out the social media notification, if he didn’t show up the press was going to make me look very bad so you made us both look good and I appreciate it,” Trump added.
“We’ve developed a great relationship, I think if you go back two and a half years and you look at what was going on prior to me becoming president, it was a very, very bad situation— a very dangerous situation for South Korea, North Korea, for the world,” the US president said.
“I think the relationship that we have developed has meant so much to so many people, and it’s just an honour to be with you and it was an honour that you asked me to step over that line and I was proud to step over the line,” he added.
Standing next to Trump after the US president crossed the border, Kim noted the historic value of the meeting.
“President Trump has just walked across the demarcation line, making him the first US president to visit our country…
“This meeting is a symbol of separation between South and the North and a reminder of the unfortunate past… Meeting in such place shows that we are willing to put an end to the unfortunate past and also open a new future,” Kim said.
Trump arrived in Seoul late on Saturday for talks with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in after attending a G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, during which he made a surprise, spur-of-the-moment offer to meet Kim.
“We’re going to the DMZ border and I’ll be meeting with Chairman Kim,” Trump said earlier.
“I look forward to it very much. We’ve developed a very good relationship,” Trump said, hailing a “certain chemistry” between the two leaders.—Al Jazeera