The historic meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore follows months of bravado and name-calling between the two volatile leaders. In the annals of U.S. history, the meeting would surely be one of the most memorable.
But it is certainly not the first time that a U.S. president has boldly met with a controversial leader or leaders. Many presidents before Trump have made history — and, indeed, brought about world change — by meeting with foreign heads of state.
Here's a look at some of the most significant and unforgettable meetings:
The Vienna Summit: JFK meets with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. June 4, 1961. During one of the icier periods of the Cold War, John F. Kennedy met with Khrushchev, and the two superpowers talked about brewing crises between East and West Berlin, unrest in Laos, and the American-initiated Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba just two months earlier.
Many in the press at the time declared the meeting a victory for Kennedy. But Kennedy later recounted that he thought Khrushchev, a burly, outspoken Russian known for his colorful speeches and for once banging his shoe in protest at the United Nations, "beat the hell out of me" during the summit. Kennedy even told The New York Times that the meeting was the "worst thing in my life. (Khrushchev) savaged me."
Khrushchev didn't see it as a major victory, however. He wrote in his memoir years later that “I was generally pleased with our meeting in Vienna. Even though we came to no concrete agreement, I could tell that (Kennedy) was interested in finding a peaceful solution to world problems and avoiding conflict with the Soviet Union.”
Yalta Conference: Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Josef Stalin discuss post-Nazi Europe after World War II. Feb. 4 - 11, 1945. Held in three Crimean palaces, the Yalta conference was a key moment in 20th-century history. Among the many agreements hammered out were the terms of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender, the splitting of Berlin into four occupied zones, Soviet participation in the United Nations, and the planned prosecution of Nazi war criminals.
While the Yalta Conference was designed to be a meeting of the victors of World War II and to divide the spoils, History.com writes that Yalta became controversial after Soviet-American wartime cooperation degenerated into the Cold War.
"Stalin broke his promise of free elections in Eastern Europe and installed governments dominated by the Soviet Union," History.com recalls. "Then American critics charged that Roosevelt, who died two months after the conference, had 'sold out' to the Soviets at Yalta."
Geneva Summit: Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev meet for the first time to talk diplomacy, the Cold War and the arms race. Nov. 19 and 20, 1985. Meeting at the Maison de Saussure chateau, Gorbachev said he viewed the historic meeting "without grand expectations, yet we hoped to lay the foundations for a serious dialogue in the future." Reagan called it a mission for peace.
The meeting was the first of five between the two superpower leaders over the course of the next three years. Reagan told Gorbachev that although the two were leaders of the world's most powerful nations, they nevertheless had common backgrounds, having both been born in "rural hamlets in the middle of their respective countries."
Nixon's Visit to China: Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong. Feb. 21-28, 1972. The presidential visit was a key overture in U.S.-Chinese relations, which had soured until that point. The trip was the first time that a U.S. president had visited the People's Republic of China. Nixon's arrival in Beijing ended more than two decades of non-diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Former U.S. diplomat Winston Lord, who attended the meeting between Mao and Nixon, called the visit to Communist China a "geopolitical earthquake" that laid the foundation for China's emergence as a major world power. It also brought the U.S. and China much closer together, both politically and economically.
Camp David Accords: Jimmy Carter, Anwar El Sadat, and Menachem Begin. September 1978. The leaders of the U.S., Egypt, and Israel met for 12 days of secret negotiations at the presidential retreat in Maryland. Considered a watershed moment in Middle Eastern politics, the accords ushered in an era of peace between Egypt and Israel after decades of hostility.
Signed on Sept. 17, the historic agreements provided for complete Israeli evacuation from the Sinai, laid the groundwork for the signing of a final peace agreement, and outlined a broader framework for achieving peace in the Middle East, according to History.com.
It was not easy to get the two sides to agree, Carter recalled years later. "It was mean. They were brutal with each other, personal,” Carter told his wife Rosalynn, according to PBS.