Donald Trump made history once again, when he became the first sitting US president to enter North Korea.
On Sunday, he met North Korean leader, and fellow giant baby, Kim Jong Un at the border, and walked a solid 20 or so steps across it, reports CNN.
The two seemed thick as thieves, and we’re not sure how to feel about that considering North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and dismal record on human rights.
There’s also the death of a certain Otto Warmbier to remember.
You can see the moment he crosses the border here, along with his pandering speech about ‘feeling honoured’:
The event was broadcast live, highlighting Trump’s view that diplomacy has a lot to do with interpersonal skills and showmanship.
The encounter at the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone — their third in person — came a day after Trump raised the prospect of a border handshake in a tweet and declared he’d have “no problem” stepping into North Korea.
…While inside North Korean territory, Trump and Kim shook hands and patted each other’s backs before returning across the border to the South after about a minute.
“I never expected to meet you at this place,” Kim, who appeared overjoyed in the moment, told Trump through an interpreter.
Trump later invited Kim Jong Un to the White House in yet another unprecedented move. He later acknowledged that the visit was unlikely, probably after someone told him that it was a bad idea.
Meanwhile, in the background, US reporters and heavily armed North Korean security guards were sharing a very different experience.
Over to The Guardian:
The jostling seen outside when Kim and Trump met worsened when North Korean guards tried to physically prevent reporters with the US press pool from entering a room inside the Freedom House on the southern side of the DMZ where the two leaders were about to start their meeting. Reports said the Secret Service had to intervene.
Those injured in the scuffle include the new White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, who ended up with bruises:
Yup, that looks very friendly.
Before Trump crossed the border, he did find time to wax lyrical about how great he is.
Trump claimed before he crossed the border that both North and South Korea had benefited from his attempts to engage Kim since he became president. “North Korea and South Korea are both in much better places than they were two and a half years ago,” he said. “It’s day and night.”
“Lots of good things are happening with North Korea,” he told South Korean business leaders, repeating his belief that the US “would have been at war with North Korea” if someone else had been elected to the White House.
Sure thing, buddy – run along while the big people talk.
More specifically, let’s hear from Robert Kelly of South Korea’s Pusan National University.
[Kelly] derided Trump’s invitation to Kim as “emblematic of why the Trump NK effort is a farce: thrown together; last-minute; made for TV”.
It was driven by Trump’s “lust for optics and drama rather than substance” and “a photo op for the 2020 election”, he tweeted.
James Clapper, the US Director of National Intelligence under Barack Obama, is also not convinced.
“I personally don’t believe the North Koreans have long term any intent to denuclearise,” he told CNN. “Why should they? It’s their ticket to survival and they’re just not going to do that.”
I’m with Kelly and Clapper on this one. This was a publicity stunt designed to fuel Trump’s ego.
Despite supposedly “successful” meetings in the past, North Korea is yet to denuclearise.
Bring on 2020.
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