Trump and Kim agree to ‘push forward’ on denuclearisation talks

N Korean news agency says historic meeting marked a ‘dramatic turn’ of events

 Donald Trump shakes hands with  Kim Jong-un as they meet at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, in Panmunjom, South Korea on July 30th. Photograph: Reuters

Donald Trump shakes hands with Kim Jong-un as they meet at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, in Panmunjom, South Korea on July 30th. Photograph: Reuters

 

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US president Donald Trump agreed at their meeting on Sunday to push forward dialogue for making a new breakthrough in the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, North Korean state media said on Monday.

Mr Trump became the first sitting US president to set foot in North Korea on Sunday when he met Mr Kim in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas and agreed to resume stalled nuclear talks.

The front page of North Korea’s ruling party Rodong Sinmun newspaper was dominated by a seven-photo splash of Mr Trump making the first crossing of any sitting US president into North Korea, while the country’s main KCNA news agency said the meeting marked a “dramatic turn” of events.

“The top leaders of the two countries agreed to keep in close touch in the future, too, and resume and push forward productive dialogues for making a new breakthrough in the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and in the bilateral relations,” KCNA said.

The meeting, initiated by a tweet by Mr Trump that Mr Kim said took him by surprise, displayed the rapport between the two, but analysts said they were no closer to narrowing the gap between their positions since they walked away from their summit in February in Vietnam.

US secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters shortly before departing South Korea that a new round of talks would likely happen “sometime in July” and the North’s negotiators would be foreign ministry diplomats.

In a photo released by KCNA on Monday, North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho and Mr Pompeo are shown sitting next to Mr Kim and Mr Trump respectively in Freedom House, the building in which the two leaders had their one-on-one talks.

KCNA said that during the chat between Mr Trump and Mr Kim, the two leaders discussed “issues of easing tensions on the Korean peninsula,” “issues of mutual concern and interest which become a stumbling block in solving those issues,” and “voiced full understanding and sympathy.”

Mr Kim said it was the good personal relationship he had with Mr Trump that made such a dramatic meeting possible at just one day’s notice and that the relationship with Mr Trump would continue to produce good results, according to KCNA.

The two leaders’ “bold, brave decision” that led to the historic meeting “created unprecedented trust between the two countries” that had been tangled in deeply rooted animosity, KCNA said.

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres welcomed the meeting between Mr Trump and Mr Kim and fully supports the continued efforts of the parties to establish new relations towards sustainable peace, security and complete and verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

“The fact that the nuclear talks have jump-started is very encouraging, but that doesn’t mean that the two sides have already adjusted their positions and set the conditions for successful working-level negotiations,” said Kim Hyun-wook, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy.–Reuters and Bloomberg