President Donald Trump will meet Sunday with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un at the Demilitarized Zone separating the North and South, a day after he issued an unprecedented invitation and expressed willingness to cross the border for what would be a history–making photo op.
South Korean President Moon Jae–in announced that Kim accepted Trump’s invitation to meet when the U.S. president visits the heavily fortified site at the Korean border village of Panmunjom.
Moon praised the two leaders for “being so brave” to hold the meeting and said, “I hope President Trump will go down in history as the president who achieves peace on Korean Peninsula.”
Trump said he looked forward to meeting with Kim, but sought to tamp down expectations, predicting it would be “very short,” he said. “Virtually a handshake, but that’s OK. A handshake means a lot.”
Officials spent Sunday morning working out logistical and security details, Trump said during an earlier appearance with Moon.
The invitation, while long rumored in diplomatic circles, still came across as an impulsive display of showmanship by a president bent on obtaining a legacy–defining nuclear deal. North Korea responded by calling the offer a “very interesting suggestion.”
“All I did is put out a feeler, if you’d like to meet,” Trump said in Japan. He added, somewhat implausibly: “I just thought of it this morning.”
Before arriving in Seoul, Trump said at a news conference in Japan that he’d “feel very comfortable” crossing the border into North Korea if Kim showed up, saying he’d “have no problem” becoming the first U.S. president to step into North Korea.
His comments followed hours after Trump asked for Kim to meet him there. “If Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!” he tweeted.
It was not immediately clear what the agenda, if any, would be for the potential third Trump–Kim meeting.
“If he’s there we’ll see each other for two minutes,”Trump predicted.