Shortly after North Korea conditionally agreed Wednesday to dismantle its main nuclear complex in Yongbyong, U.S. President Donald Trump said relations with Pyongyang have improved since he took office.
“It was inevitable we were going to war in North Korea, and now, … the relationships, I have to tell you, at least on a personal basis, they’re very good. It’s very much calmed down,” Trump told reporters outside the White House.
North Korea announced it would disassemble the complex if the United States takes “corresponding measures” under a comprehensive agreement reached by the leaders of the two rival Koreas.
The agreement was announced in Pyongyang by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the close of the second of their three-day summit.
The North’s offer to close the Yongbyong facility was coupled with a pledge to permanently shut down its missile engine testing facility and launch pad under the watchful eye of international experts.
“We have agreed to make the Korean peninsula a land of peace free from nuclear weapons and nuclear threats,” Kim told reporters during the joint announcement with President Moon.
Moon traveled to Pyongyang Tuesday with the goal of breaking an impasse between North Korea and the U.S. over the pace of Pyongyang’s intentions in ending its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The two sides agreed to break the impasse during Kim Jong Un’s historic meeting with Trump in Singapore in June. Trump canceled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s trip to Pyongyang last month over the impasse.
The two leaders also said Kim will visit Seoul sometime before the year is out, which would make him the first North Korean leader to visit the South Korean capital since the two sides split in the 1950-53 Korean War.
President Moon will wrap up his final full day in Pyongyang, watching North Korea’s spectacular “Mass Games” outdoor propaganda show.