14:18 GMT +314 November 2019
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    North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with US President Donald Trump north of the Military Demarcation Line that divides North and South Korea, in the Joint Security Area (JSA) of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) on June 30, 2019.

    Trump Becomes First US President to Step Into North Korea as He Meets Kim Jong-un at DMZ

    © AFP 2019 / Brendan Smialowski
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    US President Donald Trump said on Sunday he had been told that his counterpart, North Korea's Chairman Kim Jong-un would like to meet him, and officials are arranging a quick meeting at the demilitarised zone (DMZ) later in the day.

    Donald Trump made history by becoming the first president of the United States to have ever set foot in North Korea after he shook hands with North Korea's Kim Jong-un over the demarcation line between the two Koreas on Sunday.

    "It's a great day for the world and it's an honour for me to be here. A lot of great things are happening", Trump said of his symbolic brief visit to North Korea, adding that he would invite Kim to the White House "right now".

    The two heads of state then stepped back into South Korea, where they were joined by South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

    Speaking with reporters, Kim said that he was quite surprised to learn about Trump's willingness to meet once again via Twitter - in a reference to POTUS' invitation on the micro-blogging platform to shake the North Korean head of state's hand and "say hello" on Saturday,

    Kim Jong-un continued by saying that Trump's entry into North Korean territory showed his willingness to "strive for a better future", and that "wonderful ties" with the US president "enable us to overcome barriers", since their close relationship made it possible to arrange a meeting "just overnight".

    "I was very surprised to hear about your offer on the tweet and only late in the afternoon I was able to confirm your invitation. I had wanted to meet you again and especially for both Koreas, this place is a sign of unfortunate history of the past. So for our two Koreas to be able to have this opportunity for me to meet you here is very significant. It means that we can feel at ease and meet each other with positive mindsets. I believe that this will have a positive influence in all our discussions in the future", Kim said.

    Kim added that, "Our peaceful handshake alone, which comes despite a long history of hostility between our countries, in this place, a symbol of separation between North and South, means that this day is different from yesterday".

    Meanwhile, Trump thanked him for accepting his invitation, saying he would have looked bad if the North Korean leader had not showed up.

    "When I put out a social media notification, if he did not showed up the press was going to make me look very bad. So you made us both look good. I appreciate that. It's just an honour to be with you and it was an honour that you asked me to step over that line and I was proud to step over the line... I enjoyed being with you and thank you very much", Trump said.

    The 50-minute impromptu meeting at the DMZ comes after previous negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington in Vietnam abruptly ended in a deadlock in February 2019 after the US ultimately refused to offer North Korea any relief from economic sanctions that had been placed on the state. At the time, Trump told reporters that “they wanted the sanctions lifted entirely”, but that the US simply “couldn’t do that”.

    The two heads of state, who earlier engaged in a war of words, held their first talks in Singapore in June 2018 and signed a comprehensive document, in which Kim committed to full denuclearisation.

    The photographs and videos from the day the two met made the rounds on the internet, with social media users branding their handshake historic and even mulling Trump's chances of being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Tags:
    president, USA, South Korea, North Korea, meeting, Moon Jae-in, Kim Jong-un, Donald Trump
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