President Trump made history on Sunday by crossing into North Korea as part of a meeting with Kim Jong Un in which he and the North Korean leader agreed to restart stalled nuclear talks.
The Hill reports,
Trump and Kim shook hands across a concrete slab forming the line between to the two nations at the Demilitarized Zone, according to a reporter traveling with the president.
“Good to see again,” Kim said, according to a translator. He added he would have “never expected” Trump “at this place.”
Trump then became the first sitting U.S. president to step into North Korea.
“Good progress, good progress,” Trump said as he and Kim crossed back into South Korea.
“Stepping across that line was a great honor,” Trump said, adding that he would invite Kim to visit the White House.
“I think it’s historic, it’s a great day for the world.”
Trump and Kim then met for approximately 45 minutes at the Freedom House on the South Korean side of the DMZ, where the North Korean leader said he was “willing to put an end to the unfortunate past.”
Kim credited the “excellent relations between the two of us” for the development.
“You hear the power of that voice” Trump said, adding that the North Korean leader “doesn’t do news conferences.”
“Thus is a historic moment, the fact that we’re meeting,” he added.
Trump later told U.S. troops at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea that he noticed that “many people … from Korea were literally in tears” when he crossed the DMZ.
He also said sanctions against Pyongyang remain in place “but at some point during the negotiations things can happen” during brief remarks to reporters.
Trump in a tweet before leaving South Korea described his meeting with Kim as “wonderful,” adding that standing on North Korean soil was “an important statement for all.”
Trump had recently hinted about the meeting with Kim.
Trump said on Saturday that the North Korean leader was open to a meeting, but the president noted potential logistical challenges could prevent it from taking place.
Trump in a tweet on Friday first publicly suggested the possibility of a brief greeting with Kim at the DMZ.
In an exclusive interview with The Hill last Monday, Trump said he would be visiting the DMZ and that he “might” meet with Kim. The Hill delayed publishing news of the trip earlier in the week at the request of the White House, which cited security concerns about publicizing the president’s plans that far in advance.
Sunday’s meeting with Kim came after bad weather blocked Trump’s attempt to make a surprise visit to the DMZ in November 2017.
Trump considered meeting Kim there in 2018 before deciding to hold the first summit between the two leaders in Singapore.
The president’s visit followed renewed contact with the North Korean leader following their failed nuclear summit in Hanoi in late February.
Trump recently said he received what he called a “beautiful letter” from Kim containing birthday greetings. In return, the president sent Kim a thank you note and letter.