President Donald Trump becomes the first US leader to enter North Korean territory after meeting its leader Kim Jong-un at the DMZ.
US President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jon-un shook hands across the border at the Korean Demilitarised Zone on Sunday, in an historic photo-op as Trump seeks to make a legacy-defining nuclear deal with the North.
Trump called it "a historic moment" and said he "would invite" Kim to White House.
"I would invite him right now, to the White House," Trump said as the pair met for the third time after summits in Singapore last year and a second meeting Hanoi in February that collapsed without an agreement.
TRT World's Arabella Munro reports.
Kim said his "wonderful" relationship with Trump would enable the two longtime enemies to get over obstructions, with their nuclear talks at a stalemate.
"I am convinced our relationship will enable us to overcome barriers standing in the way," said Kim, adding as the two leaders held talks in the Demilitarized Zone that their close ties enabled a meeting to happen "just overnight".
Trump becomes the first US leader to enter North Korean territory after meeting with Kim at the DMZ.
Earlier, Trump departed Seoul aboard the Marine One presidential helicopter shortly after South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced that Kim had accepted Trump's invitation to meet at the heavily fortified site at the Korean border village of Panmunjom.
Trump's brief crossing into North Korean territory marked the latest milestone in two years of roller-coaster diplomacy between the two nations, as personal taunts of "little rocket man" and threats to destroy the other have been ushered out by on-again, off-again talks, professions of love and flowery letters.
TRT World spoke to Asia political risk analyst Ross Feingold for his take on the third Trump-Kim meeting.
'Proud to step over the line'
"I was proud to step over the line," Trump told Kim as they met in a building known as "Freedom House" on the South Korean side of the village. "It is a great day for the world."
Kim hailed the moment, saying of Trump, "I believe this is an expression of his willingness to eliminate all the unfortunate past and open a new future." He added that he was "surprised" when Trump invited to meet by a tweet on Saturday.
Peering into North Korea from atop Observation Post Ouellette, Trump told reporters before meeting Kim that there has been "tremendous" improvement since his first meeting with the North's leader in Singapore last year.
Trump claimed the situation used to be marked by "tremendous danger" but "after our first summit, all of the danger went away."
But North has yet to provide an accounting of its nuclear stockpile, let alone begin the process of dismantling its arsenal.
The meeting at the truce city of Panmunjom also represented a striking acknowledgement by Trump of the authoritarian Kim's legitimacy over a nation with an abysmal human rights record.
As he stood beside Kim, Trump told reporters he would invite the North Korean leader to the United States, potentially even to the White House.
Invitation to Washington
"I would invite him right now," Trump said. Kim, speaking through a translator, reciprocated that it would be an "honor" to invite Trump to the North Korean capital of Pyongyang "at the right time."
Trump's summit with Kim in Vietnam earlier this year collapsed without an agreement for denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. He became the first sitting US president to meet with the leader of the isolated nation last year, when they signed an agreement in Singapore to bring the North toward denuclearization.
North Korea's nuclear threat has not been contained, Richard Haas, president of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations, tweeted Sunday. Haas added that the threat of conflict has subsided only because "the Trump administration has decided it can live (with) a (North Korean) nuclear program while it pursues the chimera of denuclearization."
Substantive talks between the nations have largely broken down since the Vietnam summit. The North has balked at Trump's insistence that it give up its weapons before it sees relief from crushing international sanctions. The US has said the North must submit to "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization" before sanctions are lifted.
Every president since Ronald Reagan has visited the 1953 armistice line, except for George HW Bush, who visited when he was vice president. The show of bravado and support for South Korea, one of America's closest military allies, has evolved over the years to include binoculars and bomber jackets.
Trump, ever the showman, sought to one-up his predecessors with a Kim meeting.
The leaders met at a time of escalating tensions. While North Korea has not recently tested a long-range missile that could reach the US, last month it fired off a series of short-range missiles. Trump has brushed off the significance of those tests, even as his own national security adviser, John Bolton, has said they violated UN Security Council resolutions.