nikkei: Kim Jong Un praises Trump for being first US president to visit North Korea, calls it ‘courageous and determined act’
Donald Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to enter North Korea when he stepped over the border to greet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas.
The two leaders met for the third time at the peace village of Panmunjom, the site of the demarcation line drawn as the Korean War ended in 1953. The two leaders first met in Singapore in June last year.
“I never expected to meet you at this place,” Kim told Trump, moments after the U.S. president stepped over the border. The pair then went over to the South side, where they briefly chatted and spoke to the media before greeting South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
“Stepping over that line was a great honor,” Trump said. “A lot of really positive things are happening,” stressing that he liked Kim from the first time they met.
“I’m sure our special relations will lead to good results,” Kim said. “I’m sure our good relations have a mysterious power that can overcome difficulties.”
Trump and Kim then entered closed door talks without Moon in the House of Freedom on the South side of the DMZ.
Speaking earlier at a military camp in the DMZ before the meeting, Trump said: “This was a scheduled visit [to the DMZ] from a number of months ago. Then yesterday I had the idea that I’d call on President Kim and say hello.”
At an earlier news conference with Trump in Seoul, Moon said “many South Koreans appreciate and support President Trump’s role of peacemaker.”
Analysts say the meeting may help pave the way for resuming denuclearization talks that have been at a stalemate since the collapse of leaders’ summit in Hanoi in February. Trump said that Kim was not ready for a deal at the time, and walked away from the negotiation table.
“This display by Trump and Kim of their desire to continue a dialogue would likely generate enough fresh momentum behind engagement to increase the likelihood that talks on denuclearization and related issues restart in the coming weeks,” said Scott Seaman, a director at Eurasia Group, a U.S.-based think tank.
“A resumption of talks would in turn reduce the risk that the North regime engages in provocations — such as ballistic missile tests — which aggravate tensions,” Seaman added.
Some observers say that Trump proposed the meeting to boost his 2020 reelection campaign rather than seriously resolving tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
“Trump’s offer to meet Kim Jong Un at the DMZ is emblematic of why the Trump North Korea effort is a farce: thrown-together; last-minute; made-for-TV; driven by Trump’s lust for optics and drama of the DMZ rather than substance; in pursuit of a photo-op for the 2020 election,” said Robert Kelly, a professor of political science at Pusan National University in Busan.
Source: Published by nikkei