In an unexpected meeting, President Trump has met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for the third time on June 30, 2019. This time, Trump became the first American president to walk into North Korea through the 38th parallel between the two Koreas.
After the two leaders failed to come to an agreement during their second summit in Hanoi back in February, Kim has continued to launch missiles through his nuclear program. However, in their recent meeting, Trump and Kim reaffirmed their plans to continue negotiations regarding Kim’s nuclear program.
Before this meeting, Trump visited Japan for the G20 Summit and tweeted that he planned to visit South Korea afterward and possibly meet Kim Jong-un again. Trump tweeted, “If Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!” Kim accepted the invitation and invited Trump to step over the line into North Korea.
Trump crossing the border into North Korea has become a symbolic moment in history because he is the first US president to ever do so. It took him twenty steps and about a minute before he returned to South Korea.
Trump later said that he was “proud to step over the line”. When Kim crossed into South Korea, he said, “I believe this is an expression of [Trump’s] willingness to eliminate all the unfortunate past and open a new future.”
However, Democrats were not happy about the meeting. Senator Kamala Harris tweeted, “This President should take the North Korean nuclear threat and its crimes against humanity seriously. This is not a photo-op. Our security and our values are at stake.” Senator Bernie Sanders told ABC News, “I don’t want it simply to be a photo opportunity.”
Trump and Kim talked for almost an hour in a building called the Freedom House on the side of South Korea. During this meeting, both agreed to resume negotiations about Kim’s nuclear program, and Trump even invited Kim to Washington. No new agreements were made in this meeting. The only result of the meeting was to revive the talks from February 2019.
Furthermore, at this impromptu meeting, there was also a moment in which a US president and leaders of both South and North Korea have met together in one place. It was the first time in history that all three leaders were in one place together.
Emory University student Justin Kim has said, “While the meeting did come as unexpected, I don’t really see the importance of the meeting. These political meetings create a lot of buzz, but they rarely result in any significant change or outcome.”
As the two leaders continue to negotiate, we can only hope that a solid and irreversible deal about Kim’s denuclearization is reached.
Jennie Kim, Grade 12
Immaculate Heart High School