The leaders of the two Koreas and the US gathered for the first time Sunday at the border village of Panmunjom, making history in Korean Peninsula issues.
In a manner similar to President Moon Jae-in’s summit with Kim in April last year, Trump and Kim met at the Military Demarcation Line, respectively on the South Korean and North Korean side.
After a brief greeting across the MDL, Trump and Kim walked several steps into North Korea, after which they came back to the South Korean side. Moon then joined Trump and Kim.
After a short talk, the three moved into the conference facility on the South’s side of Panmunjom.
Before Moon joined the gathering, Kim was quoted as saying “let’s resolve the past and move forward,” while Trump reiterated that significant progress had been made in North Korean issues.
The Trump-Kim meeting was arranged, according to Trump, rapidly after a Twitter message from the US president while he was in Osaka, Japan for the G-20 Summit.
According to Trump, he had the idea Saturday morning as putting “the word out” and US and North working-level officials negotiated the details.
President Moon Jae-in, US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at Panmunjom on Sunday. (Yonhap)
The detailed plans for Trump’s visit, were only publicly confirmed earlier in the day during the Seoul-US summit. Following the South Korea-US summit in Cheong Wa Dae, Moon and Trump flew to the Demilitarized Zone where they observed North Korea from an observation point in US military’s Camp Bonifas.
At the press conference held after the Seoul-Washington summit, Trump downplayed the significance of the DMZ meeting with Kim.
“It’s just a step, might be an important step and it might not. But what we’re doing today is a step and probably it’s a step in the right direction,” Trump said.
“As for as another meeting I think let’s see what happens today before we starting thinking about that but it could be very important.”
As he has done numerous times, Trump also reiterated that he is in “no rush” regarding North Korea, while touting his relationship with Kim.
Saying that the North refused to engage the US before him, despite the Obama administration “begging for meetings constantly,” Trump said that he and Kim have “certain chemistry” and that the North has shown positive changes since his inauguration. He added that had he not been elected, the US would be at war with North Korea.
“But I‘m in no rush. The sanctions are on. I’m in no rush. I’m in no rush with Iran. I’m never in a rush. If you are in a rush get yourself in trouble,” Trump said.
Trump also rejected the idea that his second meeting with Kim was a failure, saying that developments from the meeting are “part of the whole negotiation.”
The second US-North Korea summit was held in February in Hanoi, but ended without any agreement, with Trump later revealing that the North had asked for effectively full sanctions relief in return for a part of its nuclear program.
“I think frankly the meeting in Vietnam in terms of a deal was more important than Singapore,” Trump said.
As for Moon, he took a step back from the spotlight, instead praising Trump’s role in North Korean issues, referring to the US president as “the true protagonist of the Korean Peninsula peace process, the peacemaker of the Korean Peninsula.”
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com