Progress between the U.S. and North Korea on the denuclearization of the Peninsula has been slow-going, but this weekend’s historic moment – the first time a sitting U.S. President has ever stepped foot inside North Korea’s borders – could mean that things are set to get back on track.
President Trump walked out of the demilitarized zone for a few moments on Sunday to shake hands with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and announce the resumption of talks between the two nations. After this unprecedented scene, the two leaders met for nearly an hour before agreeing to set up diplomatic teams that would “work out some detail” about how to progress on the negotiations.
“Speed is not the object,” Trump said. “We want to see if we can do a really comprehensive, good deal. Nobody knows how things turn out, but certainly this was a great day, this was a very legendary, very historic day. It’ll be even more historic if something comes up, something very important.”
The meeting is the third between Kim and Trump and comes in the wake of a failed summit in Hanoi back in February. The hope is that by extending this show of respect, however unwarranted it may be, towards Kim Jong Un, President Trump will be able to work towards what would truly be a historic compact: The denuclearization of North Korea.
Certainly, the North Korean leader seemed please by Trump’s willingness to cross the border.
“Good to see you,” Kim said. “I never expected to see you in this place.”
In remarks to reporters, Kim said: “We want to bring an end to our unpleasant past and bring in a new future, so this is a very courageous and determined act. This handshake of peace itself serves to demonstrate that today is different from yesterday. ”
It would not be a proper Trump appearance, of course, without some pointed criticism of the media.
“We are in a much different place than we were two and a half years ago,” Trump said. “I say that for the press. They have no appreciation for what is being done – none. There was great conflict here prior to our meeting in Singapore. After our first summit, all of the danger went away.”
That may be a slight exaggeration, but there’s no question that tensions with North Korea have calmed considerably since Trump made the monumental decision to meet with Kim Jong Un in 2018. Whether there has been any progress towards denuclearization remains up for question, but there haven’t been any more tests, which is certainly a huge step in the right direction.
We remain somewhat skeptical that Trump can actually close this deal, simply because…well, just look at North Korea’s history of chicanery, tricks, and BS.
But if anyone can, it’ll be him.