Reaction: Donald Trump strides into North Korea and history books
Analysts divided over significance of Trump's meeting with Kim Jong Un
Donald Trump has become the first serving American president to cross the border into North Korea, after meeting Kim Jong Un in the area dividing the two Koreas.
The two countries agreed to resume stalled nuclear talks after Trump and the North Korean leader posed for handshakes and talked for nearly an hour in the heavily fortified demilitarised zone.
“We don’t want speed, we want to get it right,” Trump said after the meeting. “It’s good for North Korea, it’s good for South Korea, I think it’s good for the world.”
Sky News said the “historic handshake” was “in terms of optics” a “triumph for both leaders”. CNN added that it “took to a new level Trump's showman instincts and view of diplomacy as a test of interpersonal skills”.
Writing for Fox News, Harry J. Kazianis, the director of Korean Studies at the Center for the National Interest, said: “If President Obama received a Nobel Prize for nearly nothing, then I think there is only one obvious thing to do, and that’s to make sure Donald Trump receives the award as well.”
However, the BBC says Trump’s critics will dismiss the meeting, arguing that it will only serve to “legitimise a totalitarian regime with one of the worst human rights records on the planet”.
Victor Cha, a former American negotiator with North Korea, told The Times: “Theatrics are no substitute for denuclearisation.”
History was certainly made when Trump stepped into North Korea. “Would you like me to step across?” the US President asked Kim as they shook hands. “I am OK with it.”
“Good to see you. I never expected to meet you at this place,” Kim told Trump through an interpreter.
The North Korean leader added that the moment held “a lot of significance”, as a “courageous and determined act” as they tried to “put an end to an unpleasant past.”
“Big moment,” Trump agreed, “tremendous progress.”
The two country’s last summit broke down in February with no progress on denuclearisation in North Korea. Since then the negotiations have been at a standstill, though Kim and Trump have exchanged letters in recent months.
Sunday’s meeting had been set up through a tweet sent by Trump, and it was on his beloved Twitter that the US President shared further thoughts on the moment. “Leaving South Korea after a wonderful meeting with Chairman Kim Jong Un,” he wrote. “Stood on the soil of North Korea, an important statement for all, and a great honor!”