Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Korea’s demilitarised zone

US President Donald Trump has shared a symbolic handshake with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the heavily fortified zone dividing the two Koreas. President Trump became the first sitting US president to cross into North Korea after meeting Mr. Kim at the demilitarised zone (DMZ).

Critics have dismissed it as pure political theatre, but others say it could set the scene for future talks. Their last summit ended abruptly with no progress on denuclearisation talks. Speaking to reporters alongside Mr. Kim at the DMZ, President Trump said it was a “truly historic” moment and that he was “proud to step over the line” between the Koreas.

Mr. Kim, in a rare statement to the press, said the meeting was a symbol of the “excellent” relationship between him and Trump. This meeting comes at a crucial time after their last summit meeting in Hanoi collapsed in February early this year. The US President literally staged a walkout.

A huge bargain last time by North Korea was forcing the US to lifting of tight sanctions in order to sign their agreement. But those talks ended with no deal, as they failed to agree on the pace at which sanctions should be eased. Since then the negotiations have stalled, though Mr Kim and Mr Trump have exchanged letters recently.

Demilitarised zone (DMZ) :

The DMZ, which runs about 4km (2.5 miles) wide and 250 km long, has divided the peninsula since the Korean War ended in 1953.  Though that area, by definition, has no military installations or personnel, beyond it lies one of the most heavily militarised borders in the world.

The Joint Security Area (JSA) located at the Panmunjom village straddles the Military Demarcation Line and is where all negotiations between the two countries are held.

Tourists can also go to the JSA when relations between the two countries – still technically at war – allow it. No US sitting US president has been inside it. Bill Clinton once described it as the “scariest place on Earth”.

Source : Various