Trump steps into North Korea
President Trump on Sunday became the first sitting U.S. president to step inside North Korea, where he shook hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. He told reporters afterward that stalled nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang would resume.
Why it matters: The West for decades has seen the North Korean side of the DMZ, a "vestige of the Cold War," as enemy territory. The encounter reflects Trump's instinct for stagecraft and spontaneous diplomacy.
- Setting: "There isn’t much demilitarized about it," per AP. "A minefield laced with barbed wire, it’s guarded by combat-ready troops on both sides and has been the site of numerous, sometimes deadly gunbattles and skirmishes."
- Context: The pen pals had a pair of high-profile summits before today's hour-long meeting, with February's summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, breaking down without an enforceable agreement for denuclearization.
Speaking to U.S. reporters after saying goodbye to Kim, Trump trumpeted progress they have made over the past two and a half years: "You don’t report it accurately, but that’s OK. Someday history will record it accurately."
- Trump told reporters he and Kim had agreed to set up negotiating teams but sanctions would remain — though he left open the possibility of scaling them back, per AP. Trump also invited Kim to the White House.
- North Korean officials shoved and tried to block the press, according to reporters on the scene and images of the incident. Press secretary Stephanie Grisham ended up with bruises when she got caught up in the fracas, according to AP.
What they're saying: Kim praised Trump's "very courageous and determined act," according to Los Angeles Times reporter Eli Stokols. Trump told Kim: "A lot of progress has been made, a lot of friendships have been made. And this has been, in particular, a great friendship. So I just want to thank you. That was very quick notice, and I want to thank you."
- Trump added: "Tremendous positivity — really great things are happening. We met, and we liked each other, from Day 1. And that was very important. I'm going to invite him right now ... to the White House."
The backdrop: The meeting occurred after Trump tweeted an invitation to Kim some 36 hours earlier. Though the meeting occurred at a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, Trump said he'd "feel very comfortable" crossing the border to meet with Kim for the handshake.
- Trump told U.S. service members stationed in South Korea in Osan Air Base after his meeting with Kim the event was "unexpected" but "great."
"That's a great country with tremendous potential. ... Everybody was so happy and many people I noticed from Korea were literally in tears, crying."
This article has been updated with more details, including Trump's DMZ visit, his meeting with Kim and his address to the U.S. troops.