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DPRK - USA Relations

The United States and Koreas Joseon Dynasty established diplomatic relations under the 1882 Treaty of Peace, Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, and the first U.S. diplomatic envoy arrived in Korea in 1883. U.S.-Korea relations continued until 1905, when Japan assumed direction over Korean foreign affairs. In 1910, Japan began a 35-year period of colonial rule over Korea. Following Japan's surrender in 1945, at the end of World War II, the Korean Peninsula was divided at the 38th parallel into two occupation zones, with the United States in the South and the Soviet Union in the North. Initial hopes for a unified, independent Korea were not realized, and in 1948 two separate nations were established -- the Republic of Korea (ROK) in the South, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the North.

On June 25, 1950, North Korean forces invaded South Korea. Led by the United States, a United Nations coalition of 16 countries undertook the defense of South Korea. Following China's entry into the war on behalf of North Korea later that year, a stalemate ensued for the final two years of the conflict until an armistice was concluded on July 27, 1953. A peace treaty has never been signed. North and South Korea have had a difficult and, at times, bitter relationship since the Korean War. The two countries are separated by a demilitarized zone. During the postwar period, both Korean governments have repeatedly affirmed their desire to reunify the Korean Peninsula, but until 1971 the two governments had no direct, official communications or other contact. North Korea has been ruled by successive generations of Kim Il Sungs family, and its political and economic structure is centrally controlled.

The United States supports the peaceful reunification of Korea on terms acceptable to the Korean people and recognizes that the future of the Korean Peninsula is primarily a matter for them to decide. The United States believes that a constructive and serious dialogue between North and South Korea is necessary to resolve outstanding problems, including the North's attempts to develop a nuclear program and human rights abuses, and to encourage the North's integration with the rest of the international community.

In 1994, the United States and North Korea reached agreement on a roadmap for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. In 2003, the United States proposed multilateral talks on the North Korean nuclear issue. Several rounds of Six-Party Talks have been held since then. Although North Korea has at times said it will take steps toward denuclearization, some of its subsequent actions, such as missile launches, have conflicted with those assertions. The United States has called on North Korea to take concrete, irreversible denuclearization steps toward fulfillment of the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks, comply with international law including United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874, cease provocative behaviors, and take steps to improve relations with its neighbors.

Under an Agreed Framework signed October 21st, 1994. between the United States and North Korea in Geneva Pyongyang froze its nuclear power plants and the U.S. agreed to replace them with light water reactors. The Clinton administration pushed for the normalization of U.S.-North Korea relations until the treaty ultimately broke down in 2002.

Multilateral discussions were held September 19th, 2005 in Beijing involving South Korea, North Korea, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia. The six-party talks seemed to have reached some consensus on North Korea abandoning its nuclear programs, and the North pledged to return to the Nonproliferation Treaty. But the pact didn't last long. North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon in October 2006, and then the U.S. took action against China's Banco Delta Asia, a Macau-based bank that was a "primary money-laundering concern" at the time.

Further six-party talks were held in 2007 and a deal was implemented in October 2007. The parties agreed to provide a total of 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil in exchange for the North committing to the pact. In 2008, North Korea demolished a 20-meter-tall cooling tower at its nuclear reactor complex to symbolize its commitment. But the talks had not been held since 2009, when North detonated a nuclear weapon underground.

Between 1995 and 2008, the United States provided North Korea with over $1.3 billion in aid, both in the form of food and heavy fuel oil, making us one of the leading contributors of assistance to the DPRK. But both the United States and UN agencies struggled with North Korean authorities over the lack of transparency and freedom to monitor the distribution of food and other humanitarian assistance. In the fall of 2008, the US resumed a food assistance program for the North Korean People, working with American NGOs and the UNs World Food Programme. There were difficulties in monitoring aid distribution, and in early 2009, North Korea unilaterally terminated thr US assistance program.

The most recent official meeting between the United States and North Korea was on February 29th, 2012 in Beijing. Those were the first high-level talks between the two countries since Kim Jong-un came to power. The Obama administration urged the regime to suspend its nuclear activities in exchange for some 240-thousand metric tons of food aid. But again, the North didn't keep its promise and tested a third nuclear device in 2014.

Strategic Patience

Since 2009, the U.S. has pursued a reactive policy toward North Korea called Strategic Patience, which maintains leveled pressure and resolute warnings with a door to renewed discussions partly open. This policy, however, has not slowed North Koreas nuclear program, as illustrated by Pyongyangs decision to restart its Yongbyon reactor. Most forms of U.S. economic assistance, other than purely humanitarian assistance, are prohibited. North Korea has at times experienced periods of famine, and the United States has provided food aid. The United States has also assisted U.S. NGOs in providing aid to fight the outbreak of infectious diseases and to improve the supply of electricity at provincial hospitals in North Korea.

The United States imposed a near total economic embargo on North Korea in 1950 when North Korea attacked the South. Over the following years, some U.S. sanctions were eased, but others were imposed. U.S. economic interaction with North Korea remains minimal.

North Korea is a grave threat to the United States and allies in Asia. Policies pursued by Presidents of both parties, with minor variations, have failed.

On 10 February 2016, one day after Americas top intelligence official warned of North Koreas nuclear, ballistic and cyber capabilities, the US Senate passed expansive sanctions targeting Pyongyang and its foreign suppliers and collaborators. The 96 to 0 vote followed North Koreas launch of a long-range rocketas well as a recent nuclear test.

Some partisan sniping arose during floor debate. A few Republicans suggested North Korea and other U.S. adversaries have been emboldened by what they see as President Barack Obama's weak leadership on the world stage. Through his words and deeds, the president continues to discredit and undercut American leadership around the world, and as a result the world is even more unstable and conflict-ridden than when he [Obama] assumed office, said Senator John Cornyn. It is absolutely the fact that in the absence of American leadership, tyrants, thugs and bullies feel emboldened.

The sanctions bills lead author, Republican Cory Gardner, said the president has been slow to confront Pyongyang. Strategic patience has been a strategic failure, Gardner said. All that our so-called patience has done is to allow the North Korean regime to continue to test nuclear weapons, to expand its testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles, to grow its military power, to develop cyber-warfare technologies, while systematically continuing to torture its own people.

Whatever ones views on various U.S. policy efforts of the past two decades, what has worked, what has not worked, there can be little question these efforts have failed to end North Koreas nuclear ambitions or end its missile programs, Democrat Robert Menendez said. They have failed to reduce the threat posed by North Korea to our allies, failed to alleviate the suffering of North Koreas people, and failed to lead to greater security in the region. Evans J.R. Revere is senior director with the Albright Stonebridge Group, providing strategic advice to clients with a specific focus on Korea, China and Japan. Fluent in Chinese, Korean and Japanese, Revere retired from the Foreign Service in 2007 after a distinguished career as one of the U.S. Department of State's top Asia experts. He has extensive experience in negotiations with North Korea. From 2007-2010, Revere served as president and CEO of The Korea Society. Revere said in May 2016 that " .... only an unprecedented level of sanctions designed to threaten the very system Kim Jong Un defends through nuclear weapons can have any chance of bringing about denuclearization. And without credible efforts toward denuclearization, ... serious dialogue is all but impossible with North Korea, meaning there is little way to see any path to an improvement in relations between the U.S. and North Korea.... the North Korean position as it has evolved very clearly since late 2008 is that they are not prepared to have a conversation about denuclearization.... we need to try something different... And that something different is to begin to put at risk the one thing that the North Koreans treasure more dearly than their nuclear weapons, which is the stability and the future prospects for survivability of the regime.... the level of sanctions that we have applied on North Korea frankly pales in comparison to what we did on Iran and other countries. And so this is a work in progress and I think there is a lot more to be done and that should be done."

The Obama Adminstration listed Iran and Burma as countries of primary money-laundering concern, a designation it did not apply to Pyongyang despite its counterfeit-currency racket. The US applied harsher human-rights sanctions against Congo and Zimbabwe, ignoring the tens of thousands of political prisoners in Pyongyangs labor camps.

In August 2013 the US House Armed Services Committee approved an amendment to the FY2014 defense bill that called for the reintroduction of tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea. The bill also required Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to submit a report on the feasibility and logistics of redeploying such weapons. The amendment was viewed as leverage the US can use in efforts to pressure China to get North Korea to give up nuclear weapons.

Trump

US President-elect Donald Trump refuted Kim Jong Uns implied message that his military may soon test an intercontinental ballistic Missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, that the North Korean leader made during his New Years Day address. On 02 Decembe 2016 Trump sent out a Twit saying, It wont happen! The president-elect also sent a Twit criticisms he made in the past against China for failing to stop its economically dependent ally in Pyongyang from developing its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs.

Preventing North Korea from testing an ICBM may be easier said than done. If future President Trump (or) when hes president then President Trump blows up the space launch center at Sohae, unless all the missiles happen to be there, that really doesnt solve your problem, said Jeffrey Lewis, the director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California.

In a Reuters interview 23 February 2017, Trump said China could solve the national security challenge posed by North Korea "very easily if they want to," ratcheting up pressure on Beijing to exert more influence to rein in Pyongyang's increasingly bellicose actions.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's estranged half brother Kim Jong-nam was killed at the Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13th after being ambushed by assassins. Some US lawmakers called for returning North Korea to the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. Washington removed Pyongyang from the list in October 2008 as part of a nuclear deal in which the communist state agreed to disable a plutonium plant and allow some inspections. "Removing North Korea from the state sponsor of terrorism list was a mistake," Representative Ed Royce, a California Republican who is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said 24 February 2017. "That's why I am working on legislation that calls for North Korea to be relisted as a state sponsor of terrorism."

Trump said: "Well if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you." A US national security review of North Korea policy in early 2017 reportedly emphasized sanctions and increasing pressure on Beijing by targeting more Chinese banks and firms that do business with North Korea.

Washington would likely need to offer some degree of support for Beijings claims in the South China Sea, for Taiwan and to back off from criticizing Chinas human rights record, to motivate China to take stronger actions against North Korea.

"The status quo in North Korea is also unacceptable," Trump told a meeting of UN Security Council ambassadors at the White House 24 APril 2017, held at a time of mounting concern that North Korea may be preparing a sixth nuclear bomb test. "The council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs," Trump said. "This is a real threat to the world, whether we want to talk about it or not. North Korea is a big world problem and it's a problem that we have to finally solve," he said. People put blindfolds on for decades and now its time to solve the problem.

The U.S. government officially put the North back on the list of state terrorism sponsors on Nov. 20, citing its repeated support of terrorist acts. Donald Trump vowed that the designation would be followed by the highest level of sanctions against Pyongyang. The idea was to show the North Korean leaders that, no matter what, the U.S. pressure will keep mounting until they come to the negotiation table, ready to make the concessions. : The return of North Korea to the terrorism sponsors list will have little impact on its economy, since the U.S. and its allies have nearly exhausted all sanctions options.

1st Summit - Singapore 12 June 2018

Tempering growing anticipation about the U.S. and North Korea resuming dialogue after the surprise summit announcement 09 March 2018, the White House spelled out that President Trump's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un required certain actions by the regime. "We've accepted the invitation to talk based on them following through with concrete actions on the promises that they've made. The president will not have the meeting without seeing concrete steps and concrete actions take place by North Korea."

Sanders said such concrete actions would have to reflect the promises made by North Korea -- that they stop nuclear and missile testing while recognizing the South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises will continue. She stressed that Washington has made "zero concessions" and the conversation will occur from a position of U.S. strength due to the administration's maximum pressure campaign.

Even so, the move was a sharp diversion from the past diplomatic policies of the U.S. towards North Korea, especially considering President Trump's belligerent rhetoric against Pyongyang. In fact, on 09 March 2018, just a couple hours after Sanders' remarks, President Trump reiterated on Twitter that a deal with North Korea was in the making and if completed, will be a very good one for the world.

And to discuss preparations for the unprecedented summit, Chung Eui-yong and H.R. McMaster, the top security advisers of South Korea and the U.S. held a meeting as well. During the meeting Chung and McMaster reportedly pledged that South Korea and the U.S. will continue to work closely together, along with relevant nations and the international community to achieve denuclearization and lasting peace on the Peninsula.

Meanwhile, a senior South Korean government official said a South Korean envoy delivered a quote "special message" from Kim Jong-un to President Trump in addition to the summit invitation. While the content of the message was not disclosed, the official said it was part of Kim's effort to build trust and Trump showed a very positive response.

Trump had shaken the world with his grade-school taunts about nuclear weapons - a deadly serious subject. He chided Secretary Tillerson that talking to North Korea won't work, undercutting the Secretary once again, and then suddenly agreed to meet and even negotiate with Kim Jong Un without the careful diplomatic work needed to ensure success. If these talks do not go well, Trump will be able to claim he tried both economic pressure and diplomacy, with neither path having solved the problem. He will be left with the conclusion that the only approach remaining will be military force.

The Pew organization charts other countries' opinions of the United States. South Korea had 88 percent confidence under Obama and had 17 percent confidence under Trump. Trump, who promised as a candidate to be unpredictable and nontraditional, has overperformed in that category. His foreign policy has been defined by inconsistency, volatility, and unpredictability.

North Korean media regarded the 12 June 2018 summit with the United States as an epoch-making event to create "a radical switchover" in hostile bilateral relations. State-run media reported on Wednesday for the first time that the nation's leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump had held an "epoch-making meeting" in Singapore and signed a joint statement.

The report said the leaders shared the recognition of the principle of step-by-step and simultaneous action in achieving peace, stability and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. It suggests that Trump showed his understanding of a North Korean demand for the phased denuclearization of the peninsula.

The media report quoted Kim as saying that "it is urgent to make a bold decision on halting irritating and hostile military actions against each other." It says Trump expressed his intention to halt US-South Korea joint military exercises over a period of goodwill dialogue between North Korea and the United States.

The report said Trump suggested the US would offer security guarantees to North Korea and lift sanctions against it, if mutual relations improve through dialogue. It said the summit was an "event of great significance in making a radical switchover in the most hostile North Korea-US relations, as required by the developing times."

The Nuclear Option??

Complete, Verifiable, Irreversible Denuclearization [CVID] has been mentioned and explained numerous times by US officials and analysts. For the Trump administration the only acceptable solution is denuclearization, but for the North Koreans this is, essentially, a non-starter.

On 06 March 2017 Dan Senor interviewed Michael Hayden, formerly both director of the CIA and the National Security Agency, who suggested "... we could try one more time to have the approach I call actions have consequences... THAAD, the theater high altitude air defense we put in South Korea and the Chinese are going crazy. I think we need to go to the Chinese and say, yes, that's the stuff that happens when you let this guy do that. Oh, by the way, I think we'll put THAAD in Japan as well. And you know what, those nuclear capable ships that used to come here, yes, they're going to come back again. And you know what, we used to keep nuclear weapons in Kunsan. We still have the bunkers. ... I don't mean to be bellicose to the Chinese, but to simply say, he does this, we've got to go do stuff. It's not intended for you, I know you think it is, but it's not. But we're going to do what we've got to go do. And maybe that incentivizes the Chinese to increase the torque."

Redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons has been a heavily emphasized theme from South Korean conservatives. Their position holds that with Pyongyang less likely now to abandon its nuclear program after succeeding in advancing its capabilities with a series of nuclear tests, Seoul has no choice but to answer nukes with nukes. But thisy could create a more untenable situation for Seouls relations with Beijing, which were already rocky over the THAAD deployment issue.

South Korea will stick to its policy of keeping the Korean Peninsula free of any nuclear weapons, the foreign ministry said 07 March 2017. "I am aware that the various opinions are laid out amid North Korea's ever-increasing nuclear threats," ministry spokesman Cho Jung-hyuck said in a press briefing.

On March 16, 2017 US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said "it is clear that a different approach is required" after 20 years of failed diplomatic efforts to prevent North Korea from having nuclear weapons. The Secretary of State announced that "the policy of strategic patience [toward North Korea] has ended."

On 12 December 2017 US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said "Our policy with respect to the DPRK is really quite clear, and that is the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. It is a policy that is shared by others in the region; in fact, that is Chinas policy as well. And Russia has stated it is also its policy. So it is while it is commonly held, our tactics for implementing the policy may differ a bit among parties in the region. Our approach, as youve seen, is to impose ever greater penalties and ever greater pressure on the regime in North Korea to persuade them to halt their current nuclear weapons development program and their systems by which they can deliver these weapons, and to change that course and choose a different course."

Security Guarantee

North Korea wants two things from the U.S.: eliminating the military threat, and guaranteeing its security. And while eliminating the military threat is rather simple, like downsizing or ceasing the joint military drills by South Korea and the U.S., the security guarantee is much more comprehensive.

There are three points to consider.

  • The first is securing North Korea's sovereignty. That would mean ensuring there is no direct military threat against the regime. This could be done through a declaration of the end of the Korean War, which would be followed by a "non-aggression pact" and then a peace treaty.
  • Second is acknowledging the regime. This means seeing North Korea as a normal nation, and establishing diplomatic ties with Pyongyang, maybe first by setting up a liaison office on each other's soil, which could further develop to hosting each other's embassies.
  • Third is giving economic autonomy to the North. It is not economic support the North seeks from the U.S. but for Washington to simply lift its economic sanctions on Pyongyang, and for North Korea to feed itself and join the global economy on its own.

Trump mentioned the prospect of ending the decades-long Korean War, after his meeting with the Vice Chairman of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party Central Committee Kim Yong-chol.

After historic meeting 12 June 2018 in Singapore between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and Donald Trump, Kim said, "At today's historic meeting, we are signing a document that marks a whole new beginning and leaves the past behind. The world will see a major change. I want to express my gratitude to President Trump for working to make this meeting happen." Trump said, "Chairman Kim is on his way back to North Korea and I know for a fact that as soon as he arrives he will start a process that will make a lot of people very happy and very safe." Trump promised that Pyongyang's denuclearization would be verified by a combination of American and international experts.

Trump told reporters that he learned during their visit Kim is a 'very talented man. I also learned that he loves his country very much.' ... Before TV cameras and their one-on-one meeting, Trump treated the North Korean totalitarian leader as a peer. He flattered Kim by telling him it was an 'honor' to meet him and predicted the two would have a 'fantastic relationship.'" Trump said Kim was a "worthy negotiator" and had a "great personality and very smart -- good combination,"

Trump said he will not be reducing the US' presence for the time being. But he noted that the US will be stopping what he called 'war games', saying that move will save the US a lot of money.

2nd Summit - Hanoi February 2019

Trump had been downplaying expectations for the 2nd North Korea-U.S. summit at the end of February, and frankly even before the meeting kicked off today, saying that he's under "no pressing time schedule" and that there's "no rush." But at the same time, he made comments on how prosperous North Korea can become economically. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington aimed to achieve as much as possible in regards to North Korea's complete denuclearization at the second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Vietnam.

The much anticipated 2nd North Korea-U.S. summit shattered everyone's expectations, as the leaders walked out, with no signing of a joint agreement. The second Kim-Trump Summit came to an abrupt end on 28 February 2019 without an agreement and or a joint declaration as both sides were unable to overcome their differences. The Hanoi summit collapsed in what was a dispiriting end to a high-stakes meeting between the North Korean and U.S. leaders. Trump said he had to walk away from the talks as both sides failed to reach an agreement on lifting sanctions.

Trump said at his post-summit press conference the North Koreans wanted the sanctions lifted in their "entirety", but they were only willing to denuclearize some areas the U.S. wanted, not all of them.

North Korea's state media reported that Kim and Trump will continue to discuss and make "significant" improvements in bilateral relations. Korea Central News Agency added Kim's second meeting with the U.S. president was a "good chance" to deepen mutual trust, promising to meet again for more discussions. The KCNA, however, did not mention the Hanoi summit ended without a signing of a joint declaration.

The North Koreans announced a surprise press conference by Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho on the no deal summit with the US. "We proposed to permanently and completely dismantle all nuclear material-productive facilities in the Yeongbyeon area, including plutonium and uranium, in the presence of U.S. experts and by the joint work of technicians from both sides IF the U.S. removed partial UN sanctions that hamper our economy and the livelihood of our people."

Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho claims they actually asked to first lift five of the eleven sanctions under UN Security Council resolutions that damage the everyday lives of the North Korean people. He added this was the biggest denuclearization step the North could take for now, considering its current level of trust with Washington. To further reassure the US, Ri said they expressed the North's willingness to write up a promise to permanently cease nuclear testing and missile launches.

North Korea's vice foreign minister says leader Kim Jong-un may have lost his appetite for bargaining with Donald Trump, following the U.S. president's negative response to the failed Hanoi summit. Choe Son-hui told reporters that he believes Trump's unwillingness to lift partial sanctions on Pyeongyang has left the North Korean leader unwilling to negotiate any further.

Trump said 08 March 2019 he would be "very disappointed" if North Korea is resuming nuclear testing after his recent meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "Look, when I came in," he said, "under the Obama administration, North Korea was a disaster. You were going to war, folks, whether you know it or not I inherited a mess." He continued, "Right now you have no testing, you have no nothing. Let's see what happens, but I would be very disappointed if I saw testing."

The United States will not agree to a phased approach to North Korea's denuclearization, the top U.S. envoy to Pyongyang said 11 March 2019. "We are not going to do denuclearization incrementally," Steve Biegun told a nuclear policy conference in Washington. "The president has been clear on that and that is a position around which the U.S. government has complete unity." The comments were the latest evidence the US is hardening its public position following a meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam between Trump and Kim Jong Un that failed to result in a deal. Before the summit, US officials had suggested they were open to a phased approach, whereby North Korea would give up its nuclear weapons in stages as the US takes corresponding measures. Biegun said the US would not lift sanctions until North Korea "completes the denuclearization process," though he did say there are "other areas outside lifting sanctions" that the US could offer.

Speaking at a nuclear conference hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on 12 March 2019, Biegun put forward an all-or-nothing approach, insisting that the North has to remove all its weapons of mass destruction, including its chemical and biological weapons. "Basically what the U.S. wanted is, they want a comprehensive agreement and step-by-step implementation. Not the step-by-step negotiations on every detail, every time. So based on his speech today, it's very difficult for them to find a middle ground between the U.S and North Korea with regards to how to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

Biegun also pointed to the difficulties in negotiating with the North-- mainly stemming from the difference in the definition of the Yeongbyeon nuclear complex. While the complex was defined as only containing plutonium facilities back in 2008 when the six-party talks were ongoing, the special envoy says North Korea has since built new uranium enrichment facilities. He said the U.S. is demanding the removal of all dimensions of the nuclear fuel cycle and the nuclear weapons program, and highlighted the importance of a "complete declaration".

Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of new sanctions on North Korea. In his tweet on 22 March 2019, Trump wrote that he had ordered the withdrawal of additional "large-scale" sanctions that had been decided on by the U.S. Treasury Department. His statement at first seemed to refer to sanctions announced the previous day, which targetted two Chinese shipping companies suspected of helping North Korea evade sanctions. The decision was the first U.S. measure on North Korea since the Hanoi summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The White House had not confirmed anything, but press secretary Sarah Sanders said to reporters that Trump "likes" Chairman Kim and he doesn't think these sanctions will be necessary.

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un each stepped over the border at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that divides the Korean Peninsula, after shaking hands on 30 June 2019. With the highly symbolic gesture, Trump became the first sitting US president to set foot on North Korean soil. What originally was intended to be an impromptu exchange of pleasantries turned into a 50-minute meeting. It marked a return to face-to-face contact between the leaders after talks broke down during a summit in Vietnam in February 2019. Trump announced afterward that the two nations had agreed to resume discussions in the coming weeks.




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