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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Trump steps into North Korea, in historic first

(Panmunjom) – Donald Trump stepped onto North Korean soil as he met Pyongyang´s leader Kim Jong Un in the Demilitarized Zone dividing the peninsula, in a symbolic diplomatic spectacle and a first for any American president.

After shaking hands with Kim over the line that marks where their two countries and their allies fought each other to a standstill in the 1950-53 Korean War, Trump walked for several steps into North Korean territory, before another handshake.

The two men then walked into Seoul´s territory together — pausing on the line for photographers — where they were joined by South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

“It´s a great day for the world and it´s an honour for me to be here,” Trump said. “A lot of great things are happening.”

The impromptu meeting in the DMZ — which came after Trump issued an invitation on Twitter on Saturday — comes with negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington over the North´s nuclear arsenal at a deadlock.

The two would “just shake hands quickly and say hello because we haven´t seen each other since Vietnam”, Trump said earlier.

Their first summit took place in a blaze of publicity in Singapore last year but produced a vaguely-worded pledge about denuclearisation, and a second meeting in Vietnam in February intended to put flesh on those bones broke up without agreement.

Contact between the two sides has since been minimal — with Pyongyang issuing frequent criticisms of the US position — but the two leaders have exchanged a series of letters and Trump turned to Twitter on Saturday to issue his offer.

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