Donald Trump has officially become the first sitting U.S. President to step into North Korea on Sunday. In a made-for-the-TV moment, both presidents crossed the military demarcation line between South and North Korea to meet at the heavily guarded Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
President Trump announced the unexpected visit on Twitter, highlighting that he was the one to propose it by asking his North Korean colleague whether he would want him to meet each other "across the border."
Trump also pointed out that he did not know in advance whether President Kim would respond to his invitation. Kim commented that he was surprised by the Saturday's Twitter invitation, but hailed the importance of the meeting as a sign of the "excellent" relations between the two Presidents.
The meeting took place at the Freedom House on the South Korean side of the DMZ. As President Kim stressed, he aimed "to put an end to the unfortunate past and bring a new future."
After they posed for photographs and briefly exchanged pleasantries, Trump and the North Korean President Kim Jong Un had a private meeting that lasted around 50 minutes. South Korea's President Moon Jae-in also joined his colleagues for a brief moment, turning the high-level meeting into an unprecedented three-way gathering.
After the meeting, Trump told the reporters that they witnessed "a very historic moment," pointing out that it would be even more legendary if something comes out of it. The U.S. President also criticized all these politicians and analysts who suggested that the two previous bilateral meetings earlier this year were unfruitful.
Trump and Kim reportedly agreed to designate a team and work on the details to potentially end the Pyongyang's nuclear program. As Trump explicitly mentioned, the final goal is to achieve a comprehensive, good deal for both countries, and in that regard, Trump emphasized, speed was not the object.
From U.S. side, the dedicated team would be headed by special envoy Stephen Biegun, Trump noted, adding that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would also be actively involved. The U.S. team would start working within the next two weeks, the President confirmed.
President Trump also indicated he was ready to invite President Kim to Washington ''when the time was right.''
In an interview with The Washington Post, Andrei Lankov, a professor at Kookmin University in Seoul, seriously doubted whether the meeting was arranged in such short notice. In Lankov's view, the visit was more a show, aiming to send a political message rather than delivering results and actual progress on denuclearization.
Talking to the BBC, Robert Kelly, professor of political science at Pusan University in South Korea agreed with his colleague Lenkov, saying that it was '' just another Trump snow-job of flim-flam.''
Commenting on the historic meeting, Pope Francis has praised it saying that it was an example of ''a culture of encounter.''
What is your opinion? Do you agree or disagree that the meeting was not agreed upon overnight?