President Donald Trump arrived at the DMZ Sunday as he prepared to hold a historic encounter with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, then took a shot at the media while he waited.
After flying from Seoul aboard Marine One, the president visited a border post at the DMZ Sunday, accompanied by South Korean President Moon Jae-in. He then met with U.S. and South Korean forces stationed at the tense boundary.
A military service-member then proceeded to give him a brief tour, pointing out North Korean territory from a vista at the line of demarcation.
He arrived there after telling reporters about his decision to go to the DMZ to hold a historic handshake meeting with Kim. He was accompanied by South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Then Trump took a shot at the media from the protected guard post.
‘I say that for the press. They have no appreciation for what is being done, none,’ he vented.
AT THE DMZ: U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are seen at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, June 30, 2019
Trump made some brief comments, which were carried on live television amid anticipation of what would be his third meeting with Kim. As he did earlier Trump complained about doubters.
‘After our first summit all of the danger went away,’ he said of the nuclear capable nation. ‘When they say there’s been no difference, there’s been a tremendous difference,’ he said.
‘I was just thinking – hey, I’m here, let’s see whether or not we can say hello to Kim Jong-un,’ Trump told reporters at a press event here in Seoul Sunday afternoon.
‘He wanted to do it from the beginning and so did I,’ the president said of his North Korean counterpart.
Later, speaking to a group of troops at a border post he visited, Trump said the DMZ visit had been scheduled ‘a number of months ago.’
‘I said we have to see the DMZ. So this was scheduled for a long time ago and then yesterday I had the idea, maybe I’ll call Chairman Kim and see if he wants to say hello. So we didn’t give him much notice,’ Trump told them.
Commander of U.S. Forces Korea Gen. Robert Abrams then presented Trump with a gift – a monogramed pullover that he said he hoped the president ‘might find some utility for you on one of your golf courses.’
Trump said of Kim during the count-down to the meeting: ‘We respect each other – maybe even like each other.
Stoking the drama, Trump told troops he would be meeting Kim within four minutes, although the scheduled meeting blew through that timeline.
President Trump received a briefing while at the DMZ
He viewed an observation post in anticipation of a meeting with the North Korean dictator
Trump was accompanied by the South Korean president
HISTORIC MEETING: President Donald Trump confirmed that he will meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un during his visit to the DMZ
President Donald Trump views North Korea from the Korean Demilitarized Zone from Observation Post Ouellette at Camp Bonifas in South Korea, Sunday, June 30, 2019
President Donald Trump arrives at the DMZ to meet with Kim Jong-Un
Assessing the potential for another meeting with the hermetic regime, Trump said: ‘It’s just a step. It might be an important step and it might not. But what we’re doing today is a step. And probably it’s a step in the right direction.’
‘There is a good feeling so it could be very good,’ said Trump.
He said the meeting would be brief, describing it as ‘just shake hands and say hello.’
South Korean leader Moon Jae-in first revealed the news at the start of a joint press event, with only a handful of reporters present.
‘The United States and North Korea will be meeting in Panmuonjom for the first time in history – the leaders of the United States and North Korea will be standing face to face in Panmunjom the symbol of division,’ he said, through a translator during a joint press event with Trump in Seoul and referring to the Joint Security Area between north and south.
Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in broke the news of the Kim meeting
Trump also weaved in his North Korea policy with attacks on the ‘fake news’
The president called it a ‘first step’
‘They’re trying to work it out,’ Trump said of his potential handshake meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un
Basketball star Dennis Rodman tweeted about the meeting in advance
In this undated photo published on Sept. 7, 2013, on the homepage of North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, talks with former NBA player Dennis Rodman during a dinner in North Korea
In addition to meeting with Kim, Trump may step inside North Korean territory.
Asked about the prospect on Saturday, he said he would ‘feel very comfortable’ doing so. He said he would ‘have no problem’ becoming the first U.S. president to set foot there.
Trump weaved the news of a meeting with attacks on what he calls the ‘fake news,’ who he claims have diminished his achievements in tamping down the security threat, which included regular missile launches early in his presidency.
‘It’s always insulting,’ Trump said.
He also continued to describe his bond with the North Korean dictator in personal terms. ‘We understand each other. I think he understands me and I think I maybe understand him. Sometimes that can lead to very good things,’ Trump said.
Former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman, who has made news with his splashy trips to visit North Korea, tweeted about the news.
‘Wishing my friends, @RealDonaldTrump and Marshal Kim Jong Un a very good meeting… Much love to you both and keep up the wonderful progress!
The confirmation came after Trump spent the morning teasing the possibility of a meeting with Kim, building the drama with each media appearance throughout the day Sunday.
‘I understand that they want to meet and I’d love to say hello. It’s going to be very short but we are in territory that’s very close,’ Trump said, touting his trip hours before he was to visit the DMZ for the first time.
‘We don’t have to take long trips. We’ll see what happens. They’re trying to work it out,’ he said, adding it’s ‘not so easy.’
As for who might attend, Trump said: ‘I don’t’ know about beyond the two of us but I can say the two of us. But we’ll see how that goes.’
During meandering remarks at an event for business leaders, Trump said ‘nothing’s final’ about the meeting, which he floated Saturday morning.
But he touted his leadership on North Korea, and repeated his claim there would have been World War III if it weren’t for his election.
‘I’m really the opposite of a war-monger,’ Trump said.
Trump ran through key events of a recent cooling in tensions, including the return of the remains of U.S. Korean War dead, and the return of Otto Warmbier, who died shortly after his return to the U.S. in a coma.
Trump made his remarks at a meeting with South Korean business leaders
Ivanka Trump, second from left, and White House adviser Jared Kushner, right, talk with people before the start of remarks from President Donald Trump to Korean business leaders in Seoul, Sunday, June 30, 2019
Of the return of ‘our hostage,’ Trump said it was something ‘which we really appreciated from Jong-un, Chairman Kim.
Later, as he met South Korean President Moon Jae-in, President Moon referenced Trump’s tweet about meeting Kim. ‘I could really feel that the flower of peace was really blossoming on the Korean peninsula,’ he said.
Moon, who has pushed to keep the peace process going, said if Trump and Kim could meet at the line of demarcation it would be a ‘historic event.’
Trump also delivered a message that the peninsula was much safer since he took office, and attacked the ‘fake news’ for not showing it while also poking at the ‘previous administration.’
‘North Korea and South Korea are both in much better places right now than they were two and a half years ago when I became president. There was tremendous danger,’ Trump said.
‘A lot of progress has been made. I watch some of the news. Fake news, it’s only fake news. They said well what’s been done? Well, it’s like the difference between day and night,’ Trump said.
‘So when I hear some of these fakers some of these people that aren’t honest reporters saying well what has Trump done, you’ve done a lot,’ Trump said.
He added: ‘It’s changed very, very rapidly. It’s very positive. A lot of positive things going on right now.’
North Korea said on Saturday thatTrump’s offer was a ‘very interesting suggestion,’ brightening prospects for a third face-to-face meeting between the two leaders.
The president tweeted from the G-20 in Osaka: ‘If Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!’
It was later revealed he had told the Hill newspaper in an interview Monday he might go and meet come, but the paper held off publication in accordance with White House security concerns.
President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in pose for a photo during a visit to the tea house on the grounds of the Blue House in Seoul, South Korea on Saturda
The border between North and South Korea is seen from the South at the Panjmunjom joint security area in the DMZ. The border is the line separating the brown dirt on the northern side from the grey gravel on the south, running between buildings used for peace talks
President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un before their last meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi on February 27, 2019
Earlier Saturday, Trump invited Kim to shake hands during his planned visit to the DMZ, which has served as a de-facto border between the Koreas since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
‘All I did is put out a feeler if you’d like to meet,’ Trump said later of the invitation, saying he didn’t even know if Kim was in North Korea.
Trump and Kim held a historic first summit in Singapore in June, which concluded with a vague joint statement where Kim pledged to work toward denuclearization. Then they met in Hanoi in February, but talks broke down without any joint agreement as Kim pushed for sanctions relief and the U.S. pushed for denuclearization.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reads a letter from U.S. President Donald Trump which he described as ‘excellent’ earlier this month
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, prepares to shake hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in over the military demarcation line at the border village of Panmunjom last year
The United States and North Korea are in a technical state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. About 28,500 American soldiers are deployed in South Korea as deterrence against potential aggression from North Korea.