About the Author
NK News is a North Korea specialist news and information resource head-quartered in Delaware, U.S.A.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sunday met and held talks with U.S. and South Korean Presidents Donald Trump and Moon Jae-in, in an impromptu meeting held on the Southern side of the Panmunjom peace village at the inter-Korean border.
Kim and Trump met and shook hands at the military demarcation line (MDL) dividing the two Koreas around 1545 local time.
Trump then crossed over into the North Korean side, becoming the first U.S. President in history to step foot in DPRK territory.
The meeting is the first between the leaders of North Korea and the U.S. since February, when a summit between the two in Hanoi fell apart amid disagreement over sanctions.
It also represents the first between the leaders of the two Koreas since Moon and Kim met in Pyongyang last September.
Following their handshake, Kim and Trump then crossed over into the South, with the DPRK leader thanking the U.S. President for his decision to briefly cross into the North.
Kim also hailed Trump’s “extraordinary resolute decision of settling down the unfortunate history and pioneering a better future.”
“I’ll invite him to the White House right now,” the U.S. President was quoted as having said by CNN.
The DPRK leader then met and shook hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, before walking into Freedom House, where the U.S. and North Korean leaders sat down for a brief word with the press.
Kim Jong Un told media on Sunday he was also “surprised” that Trump had expressed his willingness to meet him on Saturday morning, saying he had received an official invitation later in the day.
“I also wanted to meet the President,” Kim said, pointing to the fact that the “meeting took place and the two countries with long-standing hostile relations exchanged handshakes for peace at a venue which represents the symbol of the division between the North and the South and reminds of the unfortunate history.”
“This shows how today is different from yesterday,” the North Korean leader said. “And I believe positively that this meeting can show to everyone that we can change in a better way and it can make a positive influence on actions to be taken by us in the future.”
The North Korean leader then praised his relationship with Trump.
“I do not think the meeting could take place within one day suddenly without the excellent relationship between the President and me,” he said.
“Therefore, I am assured that such a excellent relationship with the President will help us take the lead… and overcome the difficulties and barriers that we might face in the process of carrying out tasks that we are ought to do.”
“This is an historic moment, the fact that we’re meeting,” President Trump said in response, thanking Kim Jong Un for accepting his last-minute invitation to meet and praising the “great relationship” between the two.
Media were then ushered out around 1602 while the two leaders began one-on-one talks.
It is possible other officials joined during the course of the meeting, while the two stepped out with President Moon just after 1650 and Kim stepped back across the border.
Among the officials accompanying Kim to the South, footage showed, was DPRK foreign minister Ri Yong Ho, first vice foreign minister Choe Son Hui, Jo Yong Won, a first vice director at the ruling party’s powerful Organization and Guidance Department (OGD), and the DPRK leader’s chief secretary Kim Chang Son.
He is also joined by Hyong Son Wol, a vice director at the North Korean ruling party’s Propaganda and Agitation Department (PAD), and Kim Song Nam, a first vice-department director at the WPK Central Committee.
Colin Zwirko, Dagyum Ji, and Oliver Hotham contributed reporting
Featured image: Dan Scavino Jr’s twitter, screenshot