North Korea hails ‘historic’ Kim-Trump meet

In print: People reading publicly displayed newspapers reporting the Sunday meeting between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Monday.   | Photo Credit: AP

North Korea on Monday hailed the weekend meeting between leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in the Demilitarized Zone as “historic”, as analysts said Pyongyang was looking to shape the narrative to its own agenda.

The two leaders agreed to “resume and push forward productive dialogues for making a new breakthrough in the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”, the official Korean Central News Agency said.

Twitter invitation

After a Twitter invitation by the U.S. President on Saturday, the two men met a day later in the strip of land that has divided the peninsula for 66 years since the end of the Korean War, when the two countries and their allies fought each other to a standstill.

Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump shook hands over the concrete slabs dividing North and South before Mr. Trump walked a few paces into Pyongyang’s territory — the first U.S. President ever to set foot on North Korean soil.

“The top leaders of the DPRK and the U.S. exchanging historic handshakes at Panmunjom” was an “amazing event”, KCNA said, describing the truce village as a “place that had been known as the symbol of division” and referring to past “inglorious relations” between the countries. The impromptu meeting in the DMZ — where the U.S. President said they agreed to resume working-level talks within weeks on the North’s nuclear programme — was full of symbolism.

Mr. Trump’s border-crossing, which he said was uncertain until the last moment, was an extraordinary sequel to the scene at Mr. Kim’s first summit with Moon Jae-in last year, when the young leader invited the South Korean President to walk over the Military Demarcation Line, as the border is officially known.

Pictures from the meeting — including a sequence of images from the Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim emerging from opposite sides for a handshake and a skip across the border — were splashed across the front page of the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper, which carried 35 images in total.

Regional powerhouse China on Monday said renewed discussions between North Korea and the U.S. are of “great significance”.

“It is hoped that all parties concerned will seize the opportunity, move in the same direction, actively explore effective solutions to each other's concerns and make progress on the peninsula,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters in Beijing.

In tears

In Washington, Mr. Trump said many North Koreans were literally in tears when he stepped into their country. “I actually stepped into North Korea and they say it’s a very historic moment,” he told American soldiers at Osan Air Base after his meeting with Chairman Kim.

“Many people, I noticed, from Korea were literally in tears,” he added.

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2021 5:23:49 AM |

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