The two leaders shook hands inside the DMZ and then Trump stepped into North Korean territory, making him the first sitting US president to enter the country. “We should shake off history and move forward to the future,” Kim said. The meeting was orchestrated at short-notice after Trump on Saturday tweeted an invitation to the North Korean leader to meet him in the DMZ during a visit to South Korea following the G20 summit in Osaka. The encounter comes after the two leaders in recent weeks exchanged letters that resurrected relations following the statement in Hanoi.
Speaking from an observation post at the DMZ but before his meeting with Kim, Trump said there had been “tremendous conflict and death all around here”. “Now, it’s been extremely peaceful. It’s a whole different world,” said Trump. “I say that again for the people that keep saying nothing has been accomplished.” Trump travelled to the border area with South Korean president Moon Jae-in, in what was the first joint visit to the DMZ by an American president and South Korean leader.
The leaders also met in Osaka at the G20 summit, which ended on Saturday. The meeting between Trump and Kim comes after months during which the two sides had no talks since the collapsed summit in Vietnam. In Hanoi, the US president pushed for a deal that would require Pyongyang to abandon its entire nuclear programme. But Kim has sought the removal of sanctions in return for incremental steps towards denuclearisation. Moon said the possibility of a handshake between Kim and Trump at the border represented a “big hope to everyone”. “This would be a significant milestone in the peace process on the Korean peninsula,” he added.