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BREAKING NEWS: Trump takes historic walk from the DMZ into North Korean territory as he meets Kim Jong-un, who immediately hails him as 'courageous'

Trump arrives at the DMZ for historic meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un

  • The president visited the DMZ on Sunday 
  • He shook hands with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un
  • He walked across the demarcation line into North Korean territory 
  • He repeatedly touted a potential meeting with Kim Jong-un  
  • Earlier Sunday he said 'nothing's final' about the meeting
  • He said at Saturday presser he would feel 'comfortable' stepping across border
  • Would become the first president to step inside North Korea 
  • North Korea said at first said it was waiting for a formal invitation to meet Trump
  • It then called the idea an 'interesting suggestion'   
  • Trump tweeted on Saturday morning inviting Kim to 'shake his hand and say Hello(?)!' 
  • Presidents have visited Panmunjom before but Kim handshake would be historic 
  • South Korean leader said he could 'truly feel the flower of peace was blossoming on the Korean peninsula'

President Donald Trump stepped into North Korean territory at the DMZ after shaking hands with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un Sunday in a historic meeting – then was hailed as 'courageous' by the North Korean leader.

'This has a lot of significance because it means that we want to bring an end to the unpleasant past and try to create a new future so it's a very courageous and determined act,' Kim said through a translator after smiling during a handshake meting.

'You're the first us president to cross this line,' Kim told him, after Trump became the first U.S. president to cross into North Korean territory. 

During the key moment, Trump slowly walked toward the concrete barrier, as Kim strode toward him, arms moving.

'Good to see you again,' Kim said. 'I never expected to meet you at this place.'

'You're the first us president to cross this line,' Kim told him. 

CNN reported that Trump on the spot invited Kim to visit the U.S.

The two leaders then sat down inside the blue painted Freedom House at the DMZ for what was to be a brief meeting. 

At that event, where Trump said they would discuss a few matters, Trump thanked Kim again, once more stressing their bond, after Kim first lauded him.  

'I want to thank you chairman. You hear the power of that voice. Nobody’s heard that voice before. He doesn’t do few news conferences, in case you haven’t heard,' Trump said, in one of his only references to the absolute power Kim wields in a regime known for mass starvation and use of a stalinist system that employs the gulag to suppress opposition.

'When I put out the social media notification, if he didn’t show up the press was going to make me look very bad,' Trump said. 'So you made us both look good and I appreciate it.'

Kim told the media that with the meeting, 'This means we can feel at ease and meet each other with positive mindsets.'

'President Trump and myself we have an excellent relationship with each other,' Kim said, stessing the same themes Trump has been hitting for days. 'If it wasn’t for that good relationship, it would not have been able to make this meeting possible.'

He said he hoped it could be 'the foundation for better things in the future that people will be not expecting.'

'This will be a very mysterious force that allows us to overcome many difficulties that existed in the past,' Kim predicted. 

After flying from Seoul aboard Marine One, the president visited a border post at the DMZ Sunday, accompanied by South Korean President Moon Jae-in. He then met with U.S. and South Korean forces stationed at the tense boundary.

A military service-member then proceeded to give him a brief tour, pointing out North Korean territory from a vista at the line of demarcation.

He arrived there after telling reporters about his decision to go to the DMZ to hold a historic handshake meeting with Kim. He was accompanied by South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Then Trump took a shot at the media from the protected guard post.

'I say that for the press. They have no appreciation for what is being done, none,' he vented.

AT THE DMZ: U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are seen at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, June 30, 2019

AT THE DMZ: U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are seen at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, June 30, 2019

Trump made some brief comments, which were carried on live television amid anticipation of what would be his third meeting with Kim. As he did earlier Trump complained about doubters.

'After our first summit all of the danger went away,' he said of the nuclear capable nation. 'When they say there's been no difference, there's been a tremendous difference,' he said. 

'I was just thinking – hey, I'm here, let's see whether or not we can say hello to Kim Jong-un,' Trump told reporters at a press event here in Seoul Sunday afternoon.

'He wanted to do it from the beginning and so did I,' the president said of his North Korean counterpart.

Later, speaking to a group of troops at a border post he visited, Trump said the DMZ visit had been scheduled 'a number of months ago.'

'I said we have to see the DMZ. So this was scheduled for a long time ago and then yesterday I had the idea, maybe I'll call Chairman Kim and see if he wants to say hello. So we didn't give him much notice,' Trump told them.

Commander of U.S. Forces Korea Gen. Robert Abrams then presented Trump with a gift – a monogramed pullover that he said he hoped the president 'might find some utility for you on one of your golf courses.' 

Trump said of Kim during the count-down to the meeting: 'We respect each other – maybe even like each other.

Stoking the drama, Trump told troops he would be meeting Kim within four minutes, although the scheduled meeting blew through that timeline. 

President Trump received a briefing while at the DMZ

President Trump received a briefing while at the DMZ

He viewed an observation post in anticipation of a meeting with the North Korean dictator

He viewed an observation post in anticipation of a meeting with the North Korean dictator

Trump was accompanied by the South Korean president

Trump was accompanied by the South Korean president

HISTORIC MEETING: President Donald Trump confirmed that he will meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un during his visit to the DMZ

HISTORIC MEETING: President Donald Trump confirmed that he will meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un during his visit to the DMZ

President Donald Trump views North Korea from the Korean Demilitarized Zone from Observation Post Ouellette at Camp Bonifas in South Korea, Sunday, June 30, 2019

President Donald Trump views North Korea from the Korean Demilitarized Zone from Observation Post Ouellette at Camp Bonifas in South Korea, Sunday, June 30, 2019

President Donald Trump arrives at the DMZ to meet with Kim Jong-Un

President Donald Trump arrives at the DMZ to meet with Kim Jong-Un

Assessing the potential for another meeting with the hermetic regime, Trump said: 'It's just a step. It might be an important step and it might not. But what we're doing today is a step. And probably it's a step in the right direction.'  

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'There is a good feeling so it could be very good,' said Trump.

He said the meeting would be brief, describing it as 'just shake hands and say hello.' 

South Korean leader Moon Jae-in first revealed the news at the start of a joint press event, with only a handful of reporters present.

'The United States and North Korea will be meeting in Panmuonjom for the first time in history - the leaders of the United States and North Korea will be standing face to face in Panmunjom the symbol of division,' he said, through a translator during a joint press event with Trump in Seoul and referring to the Joint Security Area between north and south.

Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in broke the news of the Kim meeting

Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in broke the news of the Kim meeting

Trump also weaved in his North Korea policy with attacks on the 'fake news'

Trump also weaved in his North Korea policy with attacks on the 'fake news'

The president called it a 'first step'

The president called it a 'first step'

'They're trying to work it out,' Trump said of his potential handshake meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un

Basketball star Dennis Rodman tweeted about the meeting in advance

Basketball star Dennis Rodman tweeted about the meeting in advance

In this undated photo published on Sept. 7, 2013, on the homepage of North Korea's Rodong Sinmun newspaper, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, talks with former NBA player Dennis Rodman during a dinner in North Korea

In this undated photo published on Sept. 7, 2013, on the homepage of North Korea's Rodong Sinmun newspaper, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, talks with former NBA player Dennis Rodman during a dinner in North Korea

 In addition to meeting with Kim, Trump may step inside North Korean territory.

Asked about the prospect on Saturday, he said he would 'feel very comfortable' doing so. He said he would 'have no problem' becoming the first U.S. president to set foot there. 

Trump weaved the news of a meeting with attacks on what he calls the 'fake news,' who he claims have diminished his achievements in tamping down the security threat, which included regular missile launches early in his presidency. 

'It's always insulting,' Trump said. 

He also continued to describe his bond with the North Korean dictator in personal terms. 'We understand each other. I think he understands me and I think I maybe understand him. Sometimes that can lead to very good things,' Trump said.

Former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman, who has made news with his splashy trips to visit North Korea, tweeted about the news.  

'Wishing my friends, @RealDonaldTrump and Marshal Kim Jong Un a very good meeting... Much love to you both and keep up the wonderful progress!

 

The confirmation came after Trump spent the morning teasing the possibility of a meeting with Kim, building the drama with each media appearance throughout the day Sunday. 

'I understand that they want to meet and I'd love to say hello. It's going to be very short but we are in territory that's very close,' Trump said, touting his trip hours before he was to visit the DMZ for the first time.

'We don't have to take long trips. We'll see what happens. They're trying to work it out,' he said, adding it's 'not so easy.'  

As for who might attend, Trump said: 'I don't' know about beyond the two of us but I can say the two of us. But we'll see how that goes.'

During meandering remarks at an event for business leaders, Trump said 'nothing's final' about the meeting, which he floated Saturday morning. 

But he touted his leadership on North Korea, and repeated his claim there would have been World War III if it weren't for his election.

'I'm really the opposite of a war-monger,' Trump said.    

Trump ran through key events of a recent cooling in tensions, including the return of the remains of U.S. Korean War dead, and the return of Otto Warmbier, who died shortly after his return to the U.S. in a coma.

Trump made his remarks at a meeting with South Korean business leaders

Trump made his remarks at a meeting with South Korean business leaders

Ivanka Trump, second from left, and White House adviser Jared Kushner, right, talk with people before the start of remarks from President Donald Trump to Korean business leaders in Seoul, Sunday, June 30, 2019

Ivanka Trump, second from left, and White House adviser Jared Kushner, right, talk with people before the start of remarks from President Donald Trump to Korean business leaders in Seoul, Sunday, June 30, 2019

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Trump will meet with Kim Jong Un at the demilitarized zone

Of the return of 'our hostage,' Trump said it was something 'which we really appreciated from Jong-un, Chairman Kim.

Later, as he met South Korean President Moon Jae-in, President Moon referenced Trump's tweet about meeting Kim. 'I could really feel that the flower of peace was really blossoming on the Korean peninsula,' he said. 

Moon, who has pushed to keep the peace process going, said if Trump and Kim could meet at the line of demarcation it would be a 'historic event.' 

Trump also delivered a message that the peninsula was much safer since he took office, and attacked the 'fake news' for not showing it while also poking at the 'previous administration.'

'North Korea and South Korea are both in much better places right now than they were two and a half years ago when I became president. There was tremendous danger,' Trump said.

'A lot of progress has been made. I watch some of the news. Fake news, it's only fake news. They said well what's been done? Well, it's like the difference between day and night,' Trump said.  

'So when I hear some of these fakers some of these people that aren't honest reporters saying well what has Trump done, you've done a lot,' Trump said.

He added: 'It's changed very, very rapidly. It's very positive. A lot of positive things going on right now.' 


North Korea said on Saturday thatTrump's offer was a 'very interesting suggestion,' brightening prospects for a third face-to-face meeting between the two leaders.

The president tweeted from the G-20 in Osaka: 'If Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!'

It was later revealed he had told the Hill newspaper in an interview Monday he might go and meet come, but the paper held off publication in accordance with White House security concerns. 

President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in pose for a photo during a visit to the tea house on the grounds of the Blue House in Seoul, South Korea on Saturda

President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in pose for a photo during a visit to the tea house on the grounds of the Blue House in Seoul, South Korea on Saturda

The border between North and South Korea is seen from the South at the Panjmunjom joint security area in the DMZ. The border is the line separating the brown dirt on the northern side from the grey gravel on the south, running between buildings used for peace talks

The border between North and South Korea is seen from the South at the Panjmunjom joint security area in the DMZ. The border is the line separating the brown dirt on the northern side from the grey gravel on the south, running between buildings used for peace talks

President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un before their last meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi on February 27, 2019

President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un before their last meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi on February 27, 2019

Earlier Saturday, Trump invited Kim to shake hands during his planned visit to the DMZ, which has served as a de-facto border between the Koreas since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

'All I did is put out a feeler if you'd like to meet,' Trump said later of the invitation, saying he didn't even know if Kim was in North Korea.

Trump and Kim held a historic first summit in Singapore in June, which concluded with a vague joint statement where Kim pledged to work toward denuclearization. Then they met in Hanoi in February, but talks broke down without any joint agreement as Kim pushed for sanctions relief and the U.S. pushed for denuclearization.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reads a letter from U.S. President Donald Trump which he described as 'excellent' earlier this month

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reads a letter from U.S. President Donald Trump which he described as 'excellent' earlier this month

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, prepares to shake hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in over the military demarcation line at the border village of Panmunjom last year

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, prepares to shake hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in over the military demarcation line at the border village of Panmunjom last year

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The United States and North Korea are in a technical state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. About 28,500 American soldiers are deployed in South Korea as deterrence against potential aggression from North Korea. 

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