THE historic handshake between President Donald Trump and the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was more than just a symbolic moment – it represented a genuine hope of making the world a safer place.
For that, the accord apparently struck between these two impulsive and unpredictable leaders to free the Korean peninsula of the terrible threat posed by nuclear weapons is much to be welcomed.
And Mr Trump deserves full credit for pursuing a face-to-face meeting. Indeed, though Mr Trump is a more abrasive character than his predecessor Barack Obama – who was awarded the Nobel Prize for peace – the world should welcome this seeming breakthrough in diplomacy.
Yet a note of caution must be sounded. North Korea remains in possession of a fearsome nuclear arsenal, and the agreement with the United States is lacking in any independently verified guarantees that it will be destroyed.
And the very unpredictability and volatility of both leaders also raise serious questions about whether the agreement will hold.
Mr Kim has a long track record of reneging on deals, and only days ago, Mr Trump alienated and offended his closest allies in the G7 group of nations with angry outbursts on Twitter that repudiated a joint statement on co-operation.
Nevertheless, this must be a moment of hope that the meeting between the two marks the start of a meaningful process that reduces the threat of nuclear conflict.
If that proves to be the case, then Mr Trump will deserve the gratitude and admiration of the international community.