President Donald Trump met with North Korea's Kim Jong Un in the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea on Sunday, becoming the first sitting U.S. President to step foot onto North Korean soil.
Trump crossed into North Korea around 3:45 p.m. local time, meeting Kim at the heavily fortified border in a seemingly spontaneous event with a global leader who has been ostracized from the world community thanks to his country's nuclear ambitions and record on human rights. Kim was seen clapping as Trump crossed the border, stepping on North Korean soil.
"Stepping across that line was a great honor," Trump told Kim after walking to him. The two leaders could be seen shaking hands and patting each other's backs before Trump returned back over the border after spending about a minute in North Korea.
"I never expected to meet you at this place," Kim reportedly told Trump through an interpreter.
Trump said that he was "proud to step over the line," and thanked Kim for the meeting, inviting him to the White House. However, Trump later acknowledged such a visit by Kim was unlikely to happen.
Trump and Kim met for nearly an hour inside the Freedom House at the DMZ, in which the two leaders agreed to set up teams to review negotiations about North Korea's nuclear program. However, no agreement appeared to surface out of the 50-minute meeting beyond a commitment to restart nuclear talks.
Kim congratulated Trump for his "determined and courageous visit" that was designed to "bring an end to the unpleasant past."
The high stakes encounter between Trump and Kim came after the U.S. President tweeted Saturday he hoped to meet Kim at the border for a handshake while he was in South Korea for a meeting with with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
"If Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!" Trump wrote.
Before Saturday, no sitting U.S. President had stepped foot onto North Korean territory. President Bill Clinton traveled to the hermit country in 2009 to meet with then-leader Kim Jong Il to free two American journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling who had crossed into the country from Mainland China without a visa.
It was the first time the two leaders met since a summit in Vietnam collapsed when the two sides could not come to an agreement to restrict Pyongyang's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Talks have made very little progress since then. North Korea recently resumed testing short range missiles, but, have not resumed testing of their intermediate or long-range missile tests, nor have they conducted a nuclear test since Sept. 2017.
Trump appeared highly satisfied with his meeting with Kim, calling it a "great honor!"
"Leaving South Korea after a wonderful meeting with Chairman Kim Jong Un. Stood on the soil of North Korea, an important statement for all, and a great honor!" Trump tweeted Sunday morning.
Photo: Getty Images