Kim Jong Un Is Donald Trump's Equal, South Korean Media Says Following Historic Singapore Summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un succeeded in appearing like President Donald Trump's equal during the first historic encounter between the two leaders on Tuesday, according to South Korean media.

Kim acted like a statesman and took advantage of the opportunity to seek a diplomatic solution that could save his beleaguered nation, South Korean media reported. Seoul lives under constant threat of an attack by North Korea, and the country's leadership has been adamantly promoting diplomatic talks in order to avoid a full-blown conflict, especially as Pyongyang appeared closer to developing a nuclear weapon that could fit on an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Trump made the unprecedented decision to meet with the leader of the rogue regime, a move all of his predecessors had avoided. For North Korea, who has long sought legitimacy on the international stage, the meeting was a historic opportunity to show that it carries weight. It came after the two leaders had spent months trading insults and threatening to wage war against each other, but this tough attitude appears to have paved the way for both sides to the negotiating table.

The two men will now discuss the potential denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and how to pursue peace between North and South Korea.

You cannot imagine how proud this is going to make the North Koreans. They know their country is small & impoverished. But to have their leader sit down with the U.S. president — that for them is legitimacy & it will earn Kim major points back home. #SingaporeSummit

— Jean H. Lee (@newsjean) June 12, 2018

Critics of Trump, however, were quick to point out that the U.S. president had given legitimacy to a murderous regime responsible for the starvation and death of tens of millions of people. Many criticized the decision to host a lavish lunch with a leader who starves his own people in order to develop a nuclear weapons program.

Still, during the preliminary meeting, both Trump and Kim appeared diplomatic but warm, smiling and clasping hands before making a joint statement to the press.

"Well, it was not easy to get here. The past worked as fetters on our limbs, and the old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on our way forward. But we overcame all of them, and we are here today," Kim said during the meeting through an interpreter.

Participants and the menu for today’s working lunch:

— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) June 12, 2018

For his part, Trump appeared exceedingly optimistic about the ongoing talks.

"I feel really great. We're going to have a great discussion and, I think, tremendous success. It will be tremendously successful. And it's my honor. And we will have a terrific relationship, I have no doubt," Trump said during a joint press conference leading up to longer negotiations.

The two leaders will issue a joint statement after the working lunch between Trump and Kim concludes.