Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un, have brought about “the end of hostility” on the Korean Peninsula, says South Korea’s President, Moon Jae In.
As Yahoo News reports, Moon spoke to his cabinet on Tuesday, and told his ministers that the meeting between Trump and Kim days earlier marks “an end of hostile relations” and the “start of an era of peace.”
Over the weekend, Trump and Kim met briefly, exchanging pleasantries at the Freedom House, a building on the South Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone that is officially North Korean territory. It marked the first time that a sitting U.S. president had set foot on North Korean soil. After the two men spoke and posed for photos, the rest of the negotiating process was left to representatives.
Trump and Kim had met twice before. In 2018, the two men came together in Singapore, an historic meeting that marked the first time a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader had met face-to-face. Ostensibly, that meeting resulted in an agreement that guaranteed peaceful relations, plans to return the remains of American servicemen and follow-up negotiations. They then met again in Hanoi months later, a meeting that was cut short, as CNBC reported at the time, after North Korea demanded an end to all sanctions – a demand the U.S. wasn’t prepared to meet.
Donald Trump became the first U.S. president to step into North Korea Sunday, reaching across the demarcation line to shake hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The White House has released official photos of the event: https://t.co/gYjB7TqfKT pic.twitter.com/VZu3lTSC6Q— ABC News (@ABC) July 1, 2019
Last weekend’s meeting has been criticized as a “made-for-TV moment” that did not, and will not, result in any lasting change. Fundamental differences remain between the two sides, including the two nations not seeing eye-to-eye on sanctions. Some commentators suggest that those differences are unlikely to be hashed out in the negotiations between the two sides that are scheduled for the coming weeks. Further, neither side has given any indication that any progress has been made on certain key sticking points.
Still, Moon was effusive in his praise for Trump. He described the meeting as “historic” and called it “the fruits of amazing imagination.” He called Trump’s tweet, in which he offered a third meeting, “unprecedented,” and called Kim’s decision to accept it as “bold.”
Moon has met with Kim Jong Un three times since taking office in 2017, and has continually called on the United States, and Trump specifically, to help facilitate negotiations between the three countries.
Officially, the United States and North Korea are still at war, as there is still no peace treaty to bring an end to the 1950-1953 Korean War. Nearly 30,000 U.S. troops are deployed near the North Korea-South Korea border.