U.S. President Donald Trump Sunday said that he and North Korean leader agreed to resume the denuclearization dialogue in coming weeks.
After holding an unprecedented hour-long meeting with Kim at “Freedom House” at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Trump told reporters that the talks will be bilateral in nature with teams from North Korea and U.S. holding dialogue.
“We are looking at a really comprehensive deal… It was a great, historic day, done quickly,” Trump told reporters aired live by TV channels from DMZ.
Trump was joined by South Korean President Moon Jae-in who later saw off Kim crossing into North Korean side after the hour-long meeting ended.
U.S.-North Korean working relations
“I am thankful to Chairman Kim… If he had not shown up, you [media] would have hit me, hit me hard,” Trump said.
Terming the meeting “good, strong, solid”, Trump said, “[there were] no nuclear tests, no ballistic tests, [but a] lot of good will [from North Korean side].”
Trump said that the last U.S. administration had done nothing on denuclearization of Korean peninsula.
“[For last] two and half years we had peace,” he said referring to the time since when he is U.S. president.
“Now, our Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will pick it up… [within] two-three weeks, team will start working out a process,” he added.
No nuclear tests
The U.S. president played down last missile tests by North Korea held in early May.
"Very small missiles. These are missiles that practically every country tests…And most importantly, there have been no nuclear tests," Trump replied to a question.
Trump said that he expected some relief will be given to North Korea during the denuclearization negotiations with Pyongyang.
"At some point during the negotiation, something can happen," he told reporters at DMZ.
North Korea is under severe UN and U.S. sanctions ever since 2006 when it held its first nuclear tests.
Trump crosses into North Korea
In a historic move, Trump crossed into North Korea at DMZ -- de facto border between North and South Koreas ever since 1950-53 Korean war.
He became first sitting U.S. President to cross into North Korean territory. Earlier, former U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama visited DMZ in 1983, 1993, 2002, and 2012, respectively.
“I asked him [Kim] would you like me to come across [into North Korean side],” Trump told reporters. “He [Kim] replied: I would be so honored.”
Trump said it was a “pretty good move, pretty long chat, [for] an hour or so. A positive day, event”.
Kim praised Trump for crossing into North Korean territory and said he was “honored”.
The North Korean leader said that he also wanted to meet U.S. president at DMZ.
“I also wanted to meet you to show you the symbol of separation [of Korean peninsula] and remind you about the unfortunate past… to leave behind unfortunate past and move into future,” Kim told media before heading for meeting at “Freedom House”.
Kim invite to White House
Replying to a question, Trump said that he invited Kim Jong-un to visit White House in the United States.
"I did. At some point, it'll all happen,” the U.S. President said of the expected visit of Kim to Washington.
On North Korean negotiators
When asked whether any North Korean nuclear negotiator was dead, Trump said: “I can tell you the main person is alive. I would hope that the rest are too."
A South Korean newspaper last month had reported that North Korea had shot dead Kim Hyok-chol, who represented Pyongyang in talks with Washington’s Special Representative Stephen Biegun in previous negotiations before Hanoi summit held last February.
The report could not be independently confirmed.
- Hanoi summit
Trump termed the last summit with Kim held in Hanoi, Vietnam as “successful”.
“[At least] Chairman Kim and I maintained the relationship [though] the media reported it otherwise,” the U.S. President said.
Trump had walked out of his second summit in Hanoi last February saying he could not agree to all demands of Kim.
- Respect for President Trump
Talking to reporters alongside Trump, South Korean President Moon Jae-in termed the Trump-Kim summit a “great achievement”.
“We have big issues but we could overcome, we could see the hope over the horizon,” Moon, who accompanied Trump at DMZ, said.
“[We] have been able to overcome a hurdle in the process of denuclearization,” he added.
- Earlier summits
Trump and Kim held two summits since June 2018.
The two leaders marked their first historic summit in Singapore in June last year.
The two leaders discussed the nuclear disarmament of North Korea and having a lasting peace between countries.
They met again in Hanoi, Vietnam on February 27 and 28 this year but the meeting ended without reaching a deal.
Today’s meeting which lasted for over 60 minutes technically marked their third summit which saw the two sides agreeing to resume the dialogue.
- Chaotic scenes at DMZ
Journalists reporting from the spot said that it was unprecedented that no plan whatsoever was in place for the high-profile visit unlike past.
Trump also thanked his soldiers deployed in South Korea saying “they did a commendable job in arranging the meeting at such short notice”.
- Twitter Notification
Trump had earlier on Saturday morning announced on Twitter that he would like to "say hello" to Kim at the DMZ.
North Korea, for its part, termed Trump's offer "interesting suggestion", adding it did not receive a formal proposal for the meeting.
And later early today, Trump confirmed that he was meeting Kim at DMZ.
Trump has been claiming victory in his diplomatic overtures with North Korea saying Pyongyang did not hold any further nuclear tests ever since he started talks with Kim.
- The de facto border -- DMZ
DMZ is about 250 kilometers long and 4 km wide which divides North and South Korea since 1950-53 when Korean war ended.
The rival Koreas are technically in a state of war since then as the Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.
It is one of the world's most heavily fortified borders since 1950s.
- Visit to DMZ by U.S. leaders
Earlier, four U.S. Presidents have visited the DMZ -- a no-man's land.
Former U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama visited DMZ in 1983, 1993, 2002, and 2012, respectively.
All of the previous four presidents wore dark windbreaker jackets when they visited the DMZ.
Interestingly, Trump during his visit to DMZ wore a blue suit, breaking from the past tradition of the U.S. leaders.