After the theatrical gesture, both leaders pledged to restart stalled nuclear negotiations between the two countries.
SEOUL, South Korea — President Donald Trump on Sunday took a step no other sitting American president had before, crossing into North Korea with its leader, Kim Jong Un — a theatrical gesture meant to kick start stalled nuclear negotiations between the two countries.
And, after meeting privately for nearly an hour, the two leaders pledged to do just that.
“This was a great day,” Trump told reporters. “It will be even more historic if something comes out [of it].”
It was a made-for-TV moment for the reality show-groomed president that unfolded at the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. Trump approached the border from the south, while Kim approached from the north. The two met at the line demarcating the two countries, grinned and shook hands.
“It is good to see you again,” Kim said through an interpreter. “I never expected to meet you in this place.”
“Big moment,” Trump said. “Big progress.”
Trump said Kim then asked him if he would like to cross into North Korea. Trump said he would be honored and walked about 20 steps into the country.
The two leaders then decamped to Freedom House, a small building on the southern side of the border that has been used for occasional talks between North and South Korean officials for two decades. They emerged 53 minutes later and announced they would appoint teams to restart nuclear negotiations.
“This has a lot of significance because it means that we want to bring an end to the unpleasant past and try to create a new future, so it’s a very courageous and determined act,” Kim told reporters.
Trump then invited Kim to the White House, which would mark an even more dramatic first.
But it remains to be seen if the grand gesture leads to any progress in getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons, Trump’s long-stated goal.
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