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Trump meets Kim at Korean Demilitarized Zone

June 30, 2019

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has met US President Donald Trump at the Demilitarized Zone that divides South and North Korea for a "handshake for peace." It is the third time Kim and Trump have met in over a year.

Trump meets with Kim in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, in Panmunjom, South Korea
Image: Reuters/U.S. Network Pool

US President Donald Trump has shaken hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Trump is the first sitting US president to visit the DMZ.

"I feel great. It is an honor to be here," Trump told reporters after he briefly crossed into North Korea. "I was proud to step over the line," he told Kim.

He also said he would invite Kim to the White House, as he hailed his "great friendship" with him.

Kim said that his "wonderful" relationship with Trump would enable North Korea and the US to get over obstructions to their stalled nuclear talks.

"I am convinced our relationship will enable us to overcome barriers standing in the way," said Kim, adding that his close ties with the US leader made the DMZ meeting possible "just overnight."

'Historic' and 'amazing'

North Korea described the meeting as "historic" and "amazing," saying the say leaders agreed to pursue denucleariazation of the Korean peninsula.

"The top leaders of the two countries agreed to keep in close touch in the future, too, and resume and push forward productive dialogues for making a new breakthrough in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and in the bilateral relations," the official Korean Central News Agency said.

KCNA said that during their one-on-one talk, they explained "issues of easing tensions on the Korean peninsula," "issues of mutual concern and interest which become a stumbling block in solving those issues," and "voiced full understanding and sympathy."

'Handshake for peace'

Trump, who is on a visit to South Korea, earlier confirmed that he would meet Kim at the DMZ that separates the Korean Peninsula.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in had said earlier on Sunday that Kim and Trump "will have a handshake for peace standing at Panmunjom, the symbol of division," referring to the "truce village" in the DMZ.

The DMZ has layers of barbed wire, mines and other security measures, as the two Koreas are still technically at war.

Read more: Donald Trump asks Kim Jong Un to meet him at the DMZ 

Trump held talks with Kim in Vietnam in February. The Hanoi summit followed an unprecedented meeting between the leaders in Singapore last June. Then, Kim pledged to work toward the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula, without providing a clear timetable or roadmap.

No Deal in Hanoi: What Next for Kim & Trump?

Washington and Pyongyang blame each other for the impasse, but Trump is hopeful for a breakthrough.

Experts have warned that North Korea may never agree to fully give up its nuclear ambitions, which they say Pyongyang views as vital for regime survival.

Read more: North Korea rebuilding rocket test site: report

A short meeting

Ahead of the meeting, the US president once again spoke about his good relationship with Kim, hailing a "certain chemistry" between them.

Although his previous two meetings with the North Korean leader didn't yield any result, Trump said he was "in no rush" to defuse tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Read more: North Korea's Kim Jong Un open to third Trump summit


shs/ng (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

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