President Trump's brief foray into North Korea could have lasting implications

Saul Bowman
July 3, 2019

Trump said Sunday, "This was a great day".

"Note very carefully the sequence of issues here", he said on Twitter.

"The US president stepped on North Korean soil for the first time in 66 years after the armistice and what was expected to be a brief meeting became a de facto third US-North Korea summit", Lee said during a party leaders' meeting.

The historic DMZ meeting came around a week after Xi Jinping visited Pyongyang - the first trip there by a Chinese president in 14 years as the two Cold War era allies further mended ties that cooled over North Korea's nuclear activities and Beijing's subsequent support for United Nations sanctions against its neighbour.

At the end, Trump said the two men had agreed to send their negotiators back to the table to seek a long-elusive agreement on the North's nuclear ambitions.

Trump regularly calls Kim a "friend" and KCNA cited the North Korean leader as lauding their "good personal relations", saying they would "produce good results unpredictable by others and work as a mysterious force overcoming manifold difficulties and obstacles".

Trump chose to take the risk of meeting the volatile leader of the North at a place where American troops have been stationed for nearly four generations, in the hopes of putting the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula on track.

While describing the friendly meeting held at the demilitarized zone Sunday afternoon "constructive", Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said the meeting achieved positive outcomes.

Donald Trump, the unexpected president, is growing into the man driven by a singular desire to use his time to go down the road less traveled and try to solve what conventional thinkers view as intractable problems. "The two leaders had a friendly meeting which should be welcomed".

Vipin Narang of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said the North was portraying Kim as "being courted by Trump". A new round of negotiations between the United States and North Korea is being considered.

Choson Sinbo, another pro-North Korean newspaper that publishes in Japan, also celebrated the meeting, calling it "shock therapy" to revive the increasingly hostile bilateral relationship, according to portions translated by the South Korean newswire service Yonhap.

No reports have indicated that Kim reiterated that demand during the talks this weekend.

Trump added that he "would certainly extend the invite" and that, "at some point" it will happen.

"I want to thank Chairman Kim for something else; when I put out the social media notification, if he didn't show up the press was going to make me look very bad so you made us both look good and I appreciate it", Trump added.

But US intelligence agencies and analysts have concluded that North Korea "is unlikely" to give up its nuclear arsenal.

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