Donald Trump says he will have a “terrific relationship” with Kim Jong Un as they appear together for the first time in Singapore.
The pair made brief remarks as they sat together before the world’s media as the historic summit got under way, with the US leader insisting “we will have a terrific relationship I have no doubt”.
Mr Trump said he was feeling “really great” and Mr Kim said North Korea and the US had overcome obstacles to be able to hold talks, saying it “was not easy to get here”.
“The road leading up to here was not that smooth. We’ve overcome so many obstacles which blocked our eyes and ears, dragging our feet down due to the past history, prejudices. But despite of all that, we’ve made it here,” said Mr Kim.
Mr Trump said: “We are going to have a great discussion and I think tremendous success. We will be tremendously successful.”
The comments come after the two leaders shared a firm 13-second handshake as they met for the first time and exchanged a few words with each other.
They also patted each other on each other’s arms as they walked together at the Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa.
After briefly moving away from the media glare, Mr Kim and Mr Trump reappeared, walking together along a balcony and posing for pictures.
Speaking of his one-on-one meeting with Mr Kim, President Trump said it was “very, very good” and said they had an “excellent relationship”.
The two leaders met for about 40 minutes and were joined only by interpreters.
Mr Trump made the comments as they walked together to a larger meeting along with officials from their delegations.
Sitting across Mr Kim and his team at the larger meeting was the US leader, his chief of staff John Kelly, secretary of state Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton.
At the start of the meeting the American president told the North Korean leader: “Working together we will get it taken care of… we will solve it.”
Reacting to the news of the two leaders meeting, basketball star and unlikely North Korea envoy Dennis Rodman, who is also in Singapore, said holding the summit was the right thing to do.
He told CNN: “We need the doors to be open and start fresh and make this world a better place, baby, that’s it.”
He also broke down in tears live on television as he spoke about the hostility he faced for previously meeting Mr Kim, who he struck up a friendship with over their love of basketball. The former NBA player visited Pyongyang five times since the North Korean leader took charge.
Before the meeting, President Trump predicted the two men might strike a deal over nuclear weapons or officially bring the Korean War to an end but Mr Trump’s short stay in Singapore has raised questions over whether his ambitions had been scaled back. He is due to leave Singapore by Tuesday evening.