Nuclear talks to resume as Donald Trump becomes first sitting US president to set foot in North Korea

Nuclear talks to resume as Donald Trump becomes first sitting US president to set foot in North KoreaWashington resumed nuclear disarmament talks with Pyongyang on Sunday after Donald Trump, the US president, made history by becoming the first sitting US leader to step into North Korea, greeting the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, with a warm handshake after months of stalled negotiations. The historic moment had been initiated by a spur-of-the-moment tweet by Mr Trump on Saturday, when the US president invited Kim to come to the highly fortified demilitarised zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea to “shake his hand and say hello.” In a dramatic made-for-TV-moment, Kim took up Mr Trump’s offer and shot down to the border zone – a 2.5-mile-wide slab of land which has been described as one of the world’s most dangerous places – to meet him shortly before 4pm. “Good to see you again. I never expected to see you in this place,” Kim said as he greeted Mr Trump in an encounter that was beamed live around the world. The US president then took an unprecedented step across the concrete slab that marks the border’s “military demarcation line” (MDL) and walked resolutely, shoulder to shoulder with Kim, several metres inside the North. President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un Credit: AP Moments later, they accompanied each other to the southern side and joined Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s president, marking another first in a three-way gathering. “A lot of really positive things are happening,” Mr Trump told a scrum of waiting reporters. “We met and liked each other from day one and that was very important.” The chaotic scene of reporters and secret service bumping into each other highlighted how little planning had gone into the hastily arranged encounter. But the two leaders were oblivious to the confusion as they exchanged invitations to visit each others' capitals. The president was heard extending an invitation for Kim to visit the White House before the two leaders retired to a closed-door private meeting for nearly an hour.  Trump shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the South and North Korea Credit: Getty Kim reciprocated the invite to Mr Trump to visit his capital, Pyongyang, and the two leaders agreed to carry out the trips “at the right time.” Speaking to the press after their impromptu summit, Mr Trump described their meeting as a “very good one, very strong, very solid”, revealing that they had agreed to establish teams to try to overcome the impasse over the dismantlement of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.  US President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un  Credit: Getty “We want to see if we can do a really comprehensive good deal,” said Mr Trump, although he stressed that speed was not the object. Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, later indicated that a fresh round of talks will likely happen “sometime in July.” Sunday’s brief encounter was the third meeting between the two leaders over the past year.   Mr Trump and Kim have held two previous summits in Singapore and most recently in Vietnam but have been unable to strike a deal in which North Korea renounces its nuclear weapons facilities in exchange for reductions of tough sanctions that have stymied its economy. Pope Francis, making his weekly address in St. Peter’s Square, praised the meeting. “I salute the protagonists, with a prayer that such a significant gesture will be a further step on the road to peace, not only on that peninsula, but for the good of the entire world,” he said. Troops respond as President Donald Trump arrives at Osan Air Base in South Korea Credit: RQUE Source:  However, the meeting, while resetting relations between the two countries, did little to move the dial in terms of nuclear disarmament. Analysts remained divided over the significance of the political theatrics. “[It] may have been symbolically potent, but the result was anti-climactic. If the working-level negotiations do go ahead, the question of why these have started only now, remains. I am sceptical that this will lead to concrete progress,” said Edward Howell, an Oxford University international relations scholar. “Kim is likely to use this as a tool to boost his status domestically,” he said. But John Delury, a professor at South Korea’s Yonsei University, struck an optimistic note. “The idea of the president of the United States of America and the leader of North Korea meeting regularly to work on what is really a complex problem is normal now,” he said. At a glance | The Korean DMZ: the world's last Cold War frontier “Everyone is so fixated on working negotiations on the nuclear deal. Yes, that’s a big part of it but it’s not just about denuclearisation, this is about changing relationships and it does start with political leadership and today keeps moving that process forward.” Even as Mr Trump savoured the meeting, he could not hide his resentment for the media and the foreign policy establishment who he believes have not given him enough credit for working toward curbing Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions. Mr Trump hit back at the critics saying that tensions had eased for everyday Koreans and Japanese and that it was "insulting" to suggest progress has not been made.

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