(CNSNews.com) – After President Trump on Sunday became the first sitting U.S. president to step foot on North Korean soil, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it was his impression from Trump’s historic encounter with Kim Jong Un that Kim “really wants to get something done, something very significant.”
Pompeo told reporters talks between the two sides would resume around mid-July and that sanctions against Pyongyang remain in place in the meantime. He reiterated that Trump has said he is “in no hurry” to achieve an agreement.
He also said Trump and Kim had agreed that it was up to each of them to decide who was leading their negotiation effort. In April the Stalinist regime demanded that Pompeo be removed as head of the U.S. team, unhappy at public comments he had made about Kim.
“As the president said to Chairman Kim, they get to choose who will negotiate on their behalf,” Pompeo said, adding that Kim had agreed with that.
Pompeo accompanied Trump as he met with the North Korean dictator inside the heavily-fortified demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas.
It was their third face-to-face meeting in just over one year, and came after Trump extended an unusual invitation via Twitter.
From the G20 summit in Osaka, Trump tweeted Saturday that he was preparing to leave Japan for South Korea to meet with President Moon Jae-in.
Then, he added, “While there, if Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!”
On Sunday morning, local time, Trump met with Moon in Seoul, and during a press availability his host raised the tweet.
“When I was looking at that tweet, I could really feel that the flower of peace was truly blossoming on the Korean Peninsula,” Moon said. “If you could meet Chairman Kim at the military demarcation line and have a handshake with him, I believe that that picture, in itself, would represent a historic event.”
Trump in response said both sides were working hard to make a meeting with Kim happen. He reiterated that the situation on the peninsula had become much less dangerous since his diplomatic effort began, and slammed as “fake news” media reporting questioning what has been achieved.
At a press conference after the Trump-Moon meeting, Moon called the American leader “the peacemaker of the Korean Peninsula” and expressed the hope the planned meeting with Kim “will be a milestone in the history of humankind towards peace.”
Trump then said the meeting with Kim would be going ahead, and again criticized media coverage for questioning progress in the diplomatic effort.
He said President Obama had wanted to meet with Kim, but Kim refused to do so.
“The Obama administration was begging for a meeting. They were begging for meetings constantly. And Chairman Kim would not meet with him.”
“And for some reason, we have a certain chemistry, or whatever,” he added, in reference to Kim and himself. “Now, let’s see what happens. We have a long way to go. But I’m in no rush. The sanctions are on and I’m in no rush.”
‘A great honor’
Shortly thereafter Trump traveled by Marine One to the DMZ, gazed into North Korea from an observation point and greeted U.S. and South Korean troops.
He and Kim met, and shook hands across the demarcation line that has divided the peninsula for more than half a century. Trump briefly crossed over onto North Korean territory, and Kim crossed into South Korea. Moon briefly joined Kim and Trump – their first three-way encounter.
The U.S. and North Korean leaders then held talks in the Inter-Korean House of Freedom, which straddles the demarcation line.
Speaking briefly in front of media representatives, Kim called the meeting place “a symbol of the separation between the North and South, and also a reminder of unfortunate past.”
“Meeting at such place shows that we are willing to put an end to the unfortunate past and also open a new future and provide positive opportunities in the future.”
Kim attributed the get-together to the “excellent relation between the two of us,” and said he would like to use those strong relations “to create more good news.”
Trump called it a historic moment, and thanked Kim for responding to his Twitter invitation, saying that if Kim had not shown up, “the press was going to make me look very bad.”
“So you made us both look good, and I appreciate it,” he told the North Korean.
As he headed back to the United States, Trump tweeted, “Leaving South Korea after a wonderful meeting with Chairman Kim Jong Un. Stood on the soil of North Korea, an important statement for all, and a great honor!”