When President Donald Trump concluded his business at the G20 meeting last week, he indicated he would be happy to meet with North Korea‘s President Kim Jong Un while he was at the DMZ during his visit to South Korea.

That proposed meeting became a reality, as Trump met Kim for 50 minutes along the border between the two countries and stepped into North Korea briefly during their exchange.

With wide grins and a historic handshake, President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un met at the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone on Sunday and agreed to revive talks on the pariah nation’s nuclear program. Trump, pressing his bid for a legacy-defining deal, became the first sitting American leader to step into North Korea.

What was intended to be an impromptu exchange of pleasantries turned into a 50-minute meeting, another historic first in the yearlong rapprochement between the two technically warring nations. It marked a return to face-to-face contact between the leaders after talks broke down during a summit in Vietnam in February. Significant doubts remain, though, about the future of the negotiations and the North’s willingness to give up its stockpile of nuclear weapons .

The border encounter was a made-for television moment. The men strode toward one another from opposite sides of the Joint Security Area and shook hands over the raised patch of concrete at the Military Demarcation Line as cameras clicked and photographers jostled to capture the scene.

Both leaders indicated that they will resume denuclearization talks that have been stalled since the collapse of their second summit in Hanoi, and indications were made that some of the sanctions against North Korea were lifted.

“We just had a very, very good meeting with Chairman Kim,” the U.S. president told reporters after the North Korean leader departed. “We’ve agreed that we’re each going to designate a team. The teams will try to work out some details. The teams will begin working and meeting over the next two to three weeks.”

Trump told Kim he was unhappy to see continued economic sanctions on North Korea.

U.S. special representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun had a five-minute talk with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Sun-hui while the Trump-Kim meeting was taking place.

At the DMZ, President Moon Jae-in praised the U.S. president’s decision to meet with Kim at the Demilitarized Zone, saying, “Today’s meeting will definitely accelerate efforts for peace on the Korean Peninsula as well as denuclearization,” according to press pool reports.

No joint declaration or agreements were made, but Trump and President Moon indicated that sanctions could be relaxed if the nuclear disarmament dialogue “goes well.” In Hanoi, Washington refused to accept Pyongyang’s repeated requests for a partial easing of sanctions. Trump and Kim walked away from the meeting without any results.

I would like to note that this mini-summit comes immediately after the G20’s “excellent” meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, after which Trump indicated that “we are back on track” with China. They have agreed to resume negotiations as well, hoping to work out a trade deal while the U.S. holds off on imposing new tariffs.

The new talks are designed “to see if we can make a deal,” Trump told reporters at the end of the G-20 summit in Japan.

Trump, who said he will hold off on new tariffs on China as talks progress “at least for the time being,” also announced that China agreed to buy more agriculture products from the United States.

American farmers, a politically important group, have been hit particularly hard by the China trade war.

Neither Trump nor China disclosed any concessions they might be willing to make in negotiations that have stalled in the past.

Nor did they put a timeline or deadline on new negotiations.

It appears that what happens after this particular G20 meeting might be more important that what happened during it.


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