U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shook hands Tuesday morning in Singapore’s Sentosa island, the first time sitting leaders of the two countries have met face to face. The historic handshake kicks off a high-stakes nuclear summit that has been months in the making.
Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un shook hands a second time for the cameras, sitting side by side and making brief remarks. Trump, responding to a question from a reporter, said he expected he and Kim were “going to have a great discussion and I think tremendous success, it will be tremendously successful.”
“We will have a terrific relationship,” Trump added. “I have no doubt.”
Kim also commented, through an interpreter, about the summit. “The old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on the way forward,” the North Korean leader said, according to the pool report. “But we overcame them all and are here today.”
Trump and Kim’s first handshake was a dramatic moment, and likely one of the most consequential of Trump’s presidency no matter the outcome of the summit. Less than a year ago, Trump was threatening North Korea with “fire and fury” and Kim warned of a missile attack on the US territory of Guam.
The diplomatic rapprochement between the US and North Korea — starting around the time of the Winter Olympics in South Korea — has offered Trump one of the defining opportunities of his administration to date. It’s also the riskiest.
Trump and Kim will now head into a one-on-one meeting where North Korea’s nuclear program will dominate the discussions. The US objective is, and has been, to achieve a “denuclearized” North Korea, though Kim and Trump may have different ideas on what that actually means.