Taking an unprecedented step onto North Korean soil, President Donald Trump announced Sunday that Washington and Pyongyang will relaunch stalled nuclear talks. Trump deemed the meeting a victory, announcing that nuclear talks would resume “within weeks” and that the two countries were designating teams of officials to take the lead.
Both Trump and Kim offered invitations to the other to visit their capitals, with Trump saying, “I’ll invite him to the White House right now.” Kim said it would be a “great honor” if Trump visited Pyongyang. Neither of those are likely to occur in the short term.
“He understands me, and I believe I maybe understand him,” Trump said. “Sometimes that can lead to very good things.”
For all the fanfare, there were no signs that the U.S. and the North had made any concrete progress on denuclearization, the issue that has led to North Korea’s estrangement from the world. And veteran nuclear negotiators and North Korea experts immediately questioned whether Trump, by staging a high-profile photo-op absent nuclear concessions, was bestowing legitimacy on Kim and undermining global pressure to force the North to accept a denuclearization deal.
“We can only call it historic if it leads to something,” said Victor Cha, a former Asia director at the White House and an NBC News contributor.