Trump meets Kim Jong Un, steps into North Korea

SEOUL, South Korea — President Donald Trump stepped foot into North Korea on Sunday during an extraordinary last-minute meeting with Kim Jong Un, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to enter the secretive, nuclear-armed nation.

Although the unprecedented encounter comes despite the lack of any measurable progress on denuclearization between Washington and Pyongyang, Trump declared the meeting a success.

Both leaders predicted it would lead to better things to become between their two countries.

“Stepping across that line was a great honor,” Trump said after the two walked toward each other and shook hands.

As he and Kim met in a nearby room minutes later, Trump declared: “This was a special moment.”

Kim also cast the brief meeting as a major diplomatic milestone — the first time U.S. and North Korean leaders have met at the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea.

He said he and Trump have an “excellent relationship” that made such a meeting — hastily arranged following an invitation by Trump on Twitter late Friday — possible.

“This means that we can feel at ease,” Kim said through a translator. “I believe that this will have a positive force on all of our discussions in the future.”

He also told Trump that he “never expected” to see the president “at this place.”

Yet for all the fanfare, there are no signs that the U.S. and the North have made progress on the nuclear weapons issue that has led to North Korea’s estrangement from the world in the first place.

“We can only call it historic if it leads to something,” Victor Cha, a former Asia director at the White House and an NBC News contributor, said on MSNBC.

Trump’s last summit with the North Korean leader — in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February — collapsed abruptly, with a planned signing ceremony scrapped and Trump explaining to reporters that “sometimes you have to walk.”

At the center of that failure, U.S. officials have said, was Kim’s insistence that all nuclear sanctions be lifted in exchange for only some concessions sought by the U.S. from Pyongyang related to its nuclear program.