President Donald Trump became the first U.S. president to step into North Korea on Sunday afternoon, briefly crossing into the country at the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea to meet with leader Kim Jong Un.

After shaking hands with Kim, Trump told reporters that it “was a great honor” to step “across that line.”

President Donald Trump walks to the North Korean side of the border with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the border villagASSOCIATED PRESS President Donald Trump walks to the North Korean side of the border with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone on Sunday, June 30, 2019. 

Kim told Trump that it was “good to see you again,” CNN reported.

“I didn’t expect to meet you at this place,” Kim added.

Following their historic photo op, Trump and Kim sat down for a closed-door meeting on the South Korean side of the DMZ.

The two leaders agreed during their tête-à-tête to restart nuclear talks, Trump later said, adding that his chat with Kim had been “very, very good.”

(Story continues below)

BREAKING: President Trump meets Kim Jong Un in the DMZ. https://t.co/FtT6leBRIX pic.twitter.com/ZJ1QI9snYg

— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 30, 2019

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said US President Trump stepping into North Korea was "a historic moment."President Trump said that "stepping across that line was a great honor," adding that his and Kim's was a "great friendship." https://t.co/qkc4rloeoP pic.twitter.com/kFG9ChcMS3

— CNN International (@cnni) June 30, 2019

President Trump, with Kim Jong Un, becomes first US president to step into North Korea pic.twitter.com/Xw1oUaFxym

— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) June 30, 2019

Sunday’s meeting was the third between the two leaders, who previously met in Vietnam in February and Singapore last June.

On Saturday, Trump had issued ― via Twitter ― a last-minute invitation to Kim for a possible meeting at the DMZ.

“I will be leaving Japan for South Korea,” the president tweeted. “While there, if Chairman Kim … sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!”

Kim said on Sunday that he’d been “very surprised” by the Twitter invitation.

“I was very surprised to hear about your offer on the tweet and only late in the afternoon I was able to confirm your invitation,” Kim told Trump, adding that the impromptu meeting had only been possible thanks to his “excellent relationship” with Trump.

“If it wasn’t for that good relationship, we would not have been able to make this sudden meeting possible,” Kim said.

The DMZ meeting had been expected to be brief, with Trump predicting that it might “only be a handshake” ― but the two leaders ended up speaking privately for about 50 minutes inside the Freedom House on the South Korean side of the DMZ.

Kim, Trump meet inside the Freedom House on the South Korea side of the DMZ pic.twitter.com/adyZqDtzwn

— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) June 30, 2019

Following the meeting, Trump said he and Kim had agreed to restart nuclear talks — after negotiations between the two countries stalled earlier this year.

The president said negotiators from the two countries would begin meetings in the coming weeks. But, he noted, “speed is not the object.”

“We want to see if we can do a really comprehensive, good deal,” Trump said.

The U.S. negotiating team will continue to be led by special envoy Stephen Biegun. It’s unclear, however, who the North Korean representatives will be.

There have been rumors that some previous North Korean negotiators were executed by the state following the lacklustre outcomes of earlier bilateral talks. When Trump was asked by reporters whether he thought the North Korean negotiators were still alive, he said he “thinks” they are.

“I can tell you the main person is [alive],” Trump said, without specifying who he was referring to. “I would hope the rest are too.”

After meeting with Kim Jong Un at the DMZ, President Trump says Sec. Pompeo will select team to hold talks with North Korea "over the next few weeks." https://t.co/FtT6leBRIX pic.twitter.com/6eggfB05A5

— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 30, 2019

Stephen Biegun, the lead US negotiator on North Korea, is with Trump at DMZ. pic.twitter.com/AOJGHLnfPB

— David Nakamura (@DavidNakamura) June 30, 2019

Experts warned Sunday that Trump and Kim’s DMZ encounter should be seen as nothing more than a “photo op” unless it results in a “verifiable agreement.”

“I’m not against diplomacy but this is Reality TV,” Victor Cha, a Korea expert who served on former President George W. Bush’s National Security Council, wrote on Twitter.

“It’s only ‘historic’ if it leads to denuke negotiations, a verifiable agreement and a peace treaty. Otherwise it’s just some nice pics and pageantry,” Cha added.

Joseph Yun, the former U.S. special envoy to North Korea, told CNN that “at this point I’m not sure what it is that President Trump is trying to accomplish.”

Despite Trump’s ongoing engagement with Kim and Pyongyang, “there has been no decline in the stockpile of North Korean nuclear weapons or missiles; in fact they have increased them,” said Yun, who served both former President Barack Obama and Trump himself.

“Yes, it’s true that tensions are down, but remember that tensions were built up because of all the fire and fury in 2017,” Yun continued, referring to earlier threats made by Trump against Kim’s regime.

U.S. President Donald Trump discusses his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the demilitarized zone while speaking to U.S. troops at Osan air base, South Korea. More here: https://t.co/fznlowVInE pic.twitter.com/WP4A6LlFiL

— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) June 30, 2019

After leaving the DMZ, Trump addressed U.S. troops at South Korea’s Osan Air Base before boarding Air Force One for his return flight to Washington.

While on board, he tweeted about his “wonderful meeting” with Kim.

“Stood on the soil of North Korea, an important statement for all, and a great honor!” Trump wrote.

Leaving South Korea after a wonderful meeting with Chairman Kim Jong Un. Stood on the soil of North Korea, an important statement for all, and a great honor!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2019

This story has been updated with Trump’s Air Force One tweet and additional details regarding Sunday’s DMZ meeting.

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