June 30, 2019
US president made audacious invitation to North Korean leader in tweet on Saturday during Japan G20 summit
US president Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the demilitarised zone. Image: Reuters TV
Donald Trump became the first sitting US president to set foot in North Korea after briefly crossing the border in the demilitarised zone after shaking hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Mr Trump hailed ties with Mr Kim and invited him to the White House in their third meeting, which the US president initiated in a tweet on Saturday.
Mr Kim said he was “surprised” by Mr Trump’s request to meet, and called the US president’s short walk into North Korea “a very courageous and determined act”.
“Stepping across that line was a great honour,” Mr Trump said.
“It’s just an honour to be with you,” the US president said later in a meeting with Mr Kim, adding that his willingness to meet on short notice “made us both look good”.
“The relationship that we’ve developed has meant so much to so many people,” the US president said.
While Mr Trump has met Mr Kim twice at summits in Singapore and Hanoi, no US president has ever met a North Korean leader in the DMZ.
In the US, however, candidates running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination criticised Mr Trump’s latest overture to the North Korean leader, saying the DMZ meeting lacked substance and elevated a ruthless dictator.
Mr Trump had made his audacious invitation to the North Korean leader in a tweet on Saturday during meetings at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan.
“I saw that tweet and it felt like you’ve sent a flower of hope for the Korean peninsula,” South Korean president Moon Jae-in told Mr Trump on Sunday.
“If you shake hands with Chairman Kim Jong Un at the Military Demarcation Line, it would be historic, just by the picture of it. Not only for the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, but also for a permanent peace in the region, it’ll be very meaningful.”
Pope Francis on Sunday praised the meeting between the two leaders and said he hoped it would lead to peace. – Irish Times