Donald Trump to meet meet North Korea’s Kim Jong-un at Demilitarized Zone

No sitting US president has visited North Korean territory

Andrew Buncombe
Seattle
Sunday 30 June 2019 07:40 BST
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Donald Trump says he would like to shake hands with Kim Jong-un

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Donald Trump has confirmed he will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the demilitarised zone between the two Koreas - an encounter that will be utterly historic.

"We are going to the DMZ border and I will be meeting with Chairman Kim, I look forward to it very much, I look forward to seeing him," Mr Trump said on Sunday in Seoul, at a press conference with South Korean Moon Jae-in.

”We have developed a very good relationship and we understand each other, I do believe he understands me and I think I maybe understand him and sometimes that can lead to very good things.“

He added: “For some reason we have a certain chemistry — or whatever. Let's see what happens. We have a long way to go. But I'm in no rush.”

“So, I just want to say that we are going to be heading out to the DMZ and it’s something I planned long ago but had the idea yesterday to maybe say hello, just shake hands quickly and say hello.”

He added: “Because we haven’t seen each other since Vietnam. We had a great meeting in Vietnam, people don't realise it. It's all part of the whole negotiation. But we actually had a great meeting in Vietnam, we had a great meeting in Singapore.”

Critics of the president say his willingness to meet with the North Korean leader, unwisely risked providing international legitimacy to a dictator with an appalling human rights while getting nothing in return. Experts say there has been very little progress in the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula both sides have vowed to work towards.

Supporters of his strategy say it has sharply improved relations between the two countries, at a time when Pyongyang has been expanding its nuclear weapon capabilities.

Mr Trump said: “Because we haven’t seen each other since Vietnam. We had a great meeting in Vietnam, people don't realise it. It's all part of the whole negotiation. But we actually had a great meeting in Vietnam, we had a great meeting in Singapore.”

Mr Moon told reporters that Mr Kim had accepted Mr Trump’s invitation - which had been announced on Twitter - to meet when the US president visits the heavily fortified site at the Korean border village of Panmunjom.

Mr Moon praised the two leaders for “being so brave” to hold the meeting and said: “I hope President Trump will go down in history as the president who achieves peace on Korean Peninsula.”

Mr Trump said he looked forward to meeting with Mr Kim, but sought to tamp down expectations, predicting it would be “very short”. He added: “Virtually a handshake, but that's OK. A handshake means a lot.”

Donald Trump is not 'bothered' by North Korea missile tests

Officials spent Sunday morning working out logistical and security details, Mr Trump said during an earlier appearance with Mr Moon.

The invitation, while long rumoured in diplomatic circles, still came across as an impulsive display of showmanship by a president bent on obtaining a legacy-defining nuclear deal. North Korea responded by calling the offer a “very interesting suggestion.”

While Mr Trump became the first sitting US president to meet a North Korean leader during the summit last June in Singapore, if he enters North Korean territory at the DMZ, it will be the first between US and North Korean leaders since the Korean War ended in an armistice in 1953.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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