SINGAPORE: Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un shared warm words and a historic handshake as they held an unprecedented summit to confront a decades-old nuclear stand-off and enmity stretching back to the Cold War.
The two men clasped hands beneath the white-washed walls of an upscale hotel in neutral Singapore, before sitting down for a half-day of meetings with major ramifications for the region and the world.
It is the first-ever meeting between sitting leaders of the two nuclear-armed foes and was unthinkable just months ago, when fears of war mounted amid missile tests and verbal insults.
The pair shook hands for several seconds, Trump reaching out to touch the North Korean leader on his right shoulder.
As they sat down for their tete-a-tete, the US leader – who had said he would know “within the first minute” if a deal would be possible – predicted a “terrific relationship” with Kim.
For his part, the North’s leader made a reference to the two countries’ history of war and acrimony, but noted the fact of their meeting showed they could overcome the past.
Sitting across from Trump at a small side table, Kim told the US president through a translator: “It was not easy to get here.”
“The past worked as fetters on our limbs and the old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on our way forward,” he went on, his listener looking him in the eye and nodding. “But we overcame all of them and we are here today.”
Trump responded: “That’s true” before another handshake – smiling this time – and a thumbs-up from the US president.