After Surprise Trump-Kim Meeting, US and North Korea to Reopen Talks

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to set foot in North Korea on Sunday when he met its leader, Kim Jong Un, in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas and agreed to resume stalled nuclear talks.

The meeting, initiated a spur-of-the-moment tweet by Trump that Kim said took him by surprise, once again displayed the rapport between the two. But they are no closer to narrowing the gap between their positions since they walked away from their summit in February in Vietnam.

The two men shook hands warmly and expressed hopes for peace when they met for the third time in just over a year on the old Cold War frontier that for decades has symbolized the hostility between their countries, which are technically still at war.

Trump, escorted by Kim, briefly crossed a military demarcation line into the North side of the Joint Security Area (JSA), patrolled by soldiers from both Koreas.

Moments later, they returned to the southern side and joined South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in for a brief chat, marking an unprecedented three-way gathering.

Trump and Kim then held a closed-door meeting for nearly an hour.

“We just had a very, very good meeting,” Trump said after the talks. “We’ll see what can happen.”

He said both sides would set up teams to push forward stalled talks aimed at getting North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, adding “speed is not the thing.”

Pope Francis, making his weekly address in St. Peter’s Square, praised the meeting. “I salute the protagonists, with a prayer that such a significant gesture will be a further step on the road to peace, not only on that peninsula, but for the good of the entire world,” he said.

Trump and Kim met for the first time in Singapore in June last year, and agreed to improve relations and work toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

But the second summit in Hanoi broke down after the two sides failed to narrow differences between a U.S. demand for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and a North Korean demand for sanctions relief.

‘PLENTY OF TIME’

Kim looked relaxed and smiled as he chatted with Trump amidst a throng of press photographers, aides and bodyguards.

Trump said the two leaders “moved mountains” to arrange the last-minute meeting.

“I was surprised to see you expressed an intent to meet,” Kim told Trump, referring to Trump’s offer for a meeting in a tweet on Saturday. Trump came to South Korea after attending a Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

“This is an expression of his willingness to leave behind the past and work toward a new future,” Kim said.

Kim said it would be a great honor if Trump visited his capital of Pyongyang. The two agreed to visit each other’s country “at the right time,” Trump said.

“To cross that line was a great honor,” Trump said, referring to his brief incursion into the North Korean side of the DMZ. “It’s a great day for the world.”

But there has been little sign that North Korea and the United States are any closer to narrowing differences on the nuclear issue.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters shortly before departing South Korea that a fresh round of talks will likely happen “sometime in July” and the North’s negotiators would be foreign ministry diplomats.

“Today’s meeting was significant in salvaging faltering working-level talks,” said Shin Beom-chul, a senior fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul.

“But the North wouldn’t easily change its stance, even though Trump has effectively responded to the so-called top-down approach cherished by Kim.”

Trump said he had “plenty of time” and was in “no rush” to reach a deal.

“We want to get it right,” he said.

North Korea has pursued nuclear and missile programs for years in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions, and easing tensions with North Korea is one of the U.S. president’s top foreign policy priorities.

The DMZ was set up after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a truce, leaving North Korea and a U.S.-led U.N. forces still technically at war.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin, Roberta Rampton and Joyce Lee in Panmunjom and Seoul; Philip Pullela at the Vatican; Editing by Jack Kim, Robert Birsel and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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jeanette m batavich
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jeanette m batavich

Trump is truly trying to close the gap between North Korea and the U.S, and all the democrats can do is throw dirt in his face. There should be concessions when something wonderful is being attempted for the good of our nation. We have forgotten how good our God is. Let’s get back to what really matters.

Laurie Sue
Guest
Laurie Sue

Trump rocks!!!! Great job Mr President, keep it up!!

MariaRose Randazzo
Member

All quiet on the Democratic side, as they can’t logistically come up with a proper answer response without putting a pie in their face. Three times in one year has Trump met with Kim Jong Un having progressive conversations. If only the two countries could come to a positive agreement about nuclear weapons, a very touchy topic.

Gene Waldenmaier
Member

I could only imagine what would have happened had God not answered our 2016 payers or what tragedy would happen if the Democrat’s best of the best were to win in 2020.
MAGA & KAG

Otis
Member

Poor Stephanie Grisham got roughed up by DPRK guards so it is likely an ‘appropriate’ start for her new position. I wish her well.

Probrag
Guest
Probrag

Put any of the democrat canidates in that picture. You simply can’t!

Cherl
Member

“first sitting U.S President “. Translated as the only sitting President who knows how to keep negotiations going with a twerp who now knows what the U.S can do to his country. And as for the Democrats who might begin their accusations about what is said they are the reason.

Doug Rosenow
Guest
Doug Rosenow

Big Don needs to focus on Lil’ Kim, showing him how his nation can soon look like South Korea instead of Cooba and (pre-1990) East Berlin. Lil’ Kim will be heralded as the man who turned hardscrabble into Honolulu. Stripped of its puppet, the ChiComms (even now in deep recession) will beg for sanctions/tariffs to be lifted, with the quid being a “rever praying feyurd.” As to Iran, it is soon to implode, as 50% inflation gnaws on a people still recalling Tehran’s streets looking like London/Paris with squiggly signage. OOO-rah, and MAGA!

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