Trump makes history by briefly stepping into N. Korea in meeting with Kim

epa07686292 A photo released by the official North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows US President Donald J. Trump (L) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (R) standing on the North Korean side in the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, which separates the two Koreas, 30 June 2019. The US leader arrived in South Korean on 29 June for a two-day visit that will include a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and a trip to the Demilitarized Zone.  EPA/KCNA   EDITORIAL USE ONLY

A photo released by the official North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows US President Donald J. Trump (L) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (R) standing on the North Korean side in the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, which separates the two Koreas, 30 June 2019. The US leader arrived in South Korean on 29 June for a two-day visit that will include a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and a trip to the Demilitarized Zone. 

U.S. President Donald Trump made history Sunday as he stepped into North Korea over the inter-Korean border in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to become the first American president ever to set foot on the soil of the communist nation, which is still technically at war with the U.S. In a dark navy suit with a red tie, a stiff-looking Trump emerged from the Freedom House building on the southern side of the Panmunjom inside the DMZ separating the two Koreas, according to live TV footage. Kim, clad in a Mao suit, came out of the building of Panmungak on the North Korean side.

 

Walking towards each other almost simultaneously through a narrow pathway between two iconic blue conference buildings, the two stopped at the concrete curb that serves as the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) dividing the two Koreas and shook hands. While exchanging pleasantries, the two leaders often smiled broadly.

 

Trump then stepped over the borderline into the North, and walked a few steps along the pathway, becoming the first American president to set foot on North Korean soil. After exchanging further handshakes and a few words, the two leaders crossed back together. Trump and Kim then moved further to join South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who was watching the historic moment a few steps behind. He had accompanied Trump on his unprecedented trip to the Joint Security Area. Standing side by side, the three leaders conversed briefly before heading to the Freedom House together, where Trump and Kim had a one-on-one meeting behind closed doors.

 

The encounter at the border village did not have any extravagant embellishments such as honor guards or a military band, which would be usual for this kind of high-profile meeting. Instead, it had security staff jostling journalists eager to capture this unprecedented event. Trump, who is on a two-day visit to South Korea that started Saturday, made an impromptu invitation to the North Korean leader on Friday to come to the DMZ “just to shake his hand and say Hello.” Describing his meeting with Kim as “a special moment,” Trump thanked Kim for the acceptance of his invitation and said there was “a great relationship” between the two.

 

By Oh Seok-min

(Yonhap)

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