By Audrey Conklin
Democratic 2020 candidate Bernie Sanders said he has “no problem” with President Donald Trump meeting North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un at the Demilitarized Zone.
Trump shook hands with Kim on Sunday morning at the DMZ and became the first president to ever set foot into North Korean territory. The two also had a nearly hour-long private discussion following their public meeting.
“I have no problem with him sitting down with Kim Jong Un in North Korea or any place else, but I don’t want it simply to be a photo opportunity,” the Independent Vermont senator told ABC New’s “This Morning.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders says he has "no problem" with Pres. Trump meeting with Kim Jong Un, adding: "I don't want it simply to be a photo opportunity… we need to move forward diplomatically, not just do photo opportunities." https://t.co/m8AMbWGcnF pic.twitter.com/l05YM3EEiC
— ABC News (@ABC) June 30, 2019
“What’s going to happen tomorrow and the next day?” Sanders continued. “He has weakened the State Department. If we’re going to bring peace to this world, we need a strong State Department. We need to move forward diplomatically, not just do photo opportunities.”
Trump has been in Osaka, Japan, since Friday to attend the G20 Summit and hold meetings with world leaders like Chinese President Xi Jinping and Saudi Arabian Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud. He hinted at inviting Kim to the DMZ in a Saturday morning Twitter post, just 24 hours before the meeting was set to take place.
“If Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!” the president tweeted.
A North Korean official called the invitation “very interesting,” and Trump said he “got a call very quickly” about the offer, saying Kim follows him on Twitter and agreed to the meeting, as well as private talks afterward.
“We want to bring an end to our unpleasant past and bring in a new future, so this is a very courageous and determined act,” Kim said at the meeting. “This handshake of peace itself serves to demonstrate that today is different from yesterday.”
Trump said after the talks that “speed is not the object,” and the two countries want to see if they can “do a really comprehensive, good deal.”
“Nobody knows how things turn out,” he concluded, “but certainly, this was a great day. This was a very legendary, very historic day. It’ll be even more historic if something comes up, something very important. Very big stuff, pretty complicated, but not as complicated as people think.”
South Korean President Moon Jae-In said the meeting gave “big hope to the world” and the “80 million people of South and North Korea.”
“Through today’s meeting, the peace process for complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and establishment of permanent peace has overcome a big hurdle,” he said.
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