Donald Trump approached from the proper, striding down the lengthy portico on the colonial-era Singapore resort. Kim Jong Un, wearing his acquainted Mao go well with, emerged from the left. They met within the center, on a crimson carpet, dozens of cameras recording their each transfer because the world watched.
13 seconds. That is how lengthy the American and North Korean leaders shook arms at first of their summit Tuesday. The size of the contact, their facial expressions and physique language, the beautiful backdrop of interlocked nationwide flags — all of it was immediately analyzed, criticized and marveled at in tweets and commentary in South Korea, the USA and past.
Kim might have greatest summed up the surreal high quality of what was taking place when he mentioned that a lot of these watching will assume it is a scene from a “science fiction film.”
South Koreans applauded in a prepare station as they watched; the South Korean president grinned broadly; one official in contrast the summit, favourably, to the beginning of his daughter. On the flipside, critics mentioned the welcome Trump was giving Kim in Singapore would legitimize one of many world’s worst human rights offenders.
It was a single, quintessentially human second — a greeting, a welcome, a begin of a relationship — however the response to the handshake was as difficult because the standoff that the 2 international locations these males symbolize have been locked in for seven many years now.
There was shock, aid, fear, typically concurrently, because the world watched Trump and Kim — who had been insulting one another’s psychological and bodily prowess and threatening nuclear battle only a few months in the past — shaking arms and smiling.
Trump put his hand out first, adopted by Kim as they strode towards one another. Trump grasped Kim’s proper arm as they shook, after which, later, took ahold of Kim’s left arm as they turned to face the cameras and the world, each their expressions momentarily deadening earlier than they turned to face one another once more, and smiled.
The backdrop was virtually as stunning as the heat of the handshake — a row of the 2 nations’ flags displayed side-by-side on the entrance to the Singapore resort that is internet hosting their summit.
Each Koreas have lengthy demonized the opposite’s nationwide flag. It is unlawful to point out the North Korean flag within the South. North Korea’s anti-U.S. propaganda dates to the battle and frequently reveals North Korean troopers bayonetting the U.S. flag.
Nonetheless, many South Koreans rushed to precise their awe of Tuesday’s occasions.
The liberal Hankook Ilbo newspaper marveled that the U.S. president did not shake arms within the regular “Trump manner” of domineering his counterpart. It additionally famous that Trump softly tapped Kim on the shoulder and appeared to interact in small discuss with him.
Jung Chung-rae, a former lawmaker of the liberal Minjoo Celebration, tweeted that the handshake “shined with politeness and respect” and that historical past will bear in mind their “handshakes and smiles.” Media pictures confirmed South Korean President Moon Jae-in smiling broadly throughout a Cupboard assembly on the Blue Home whereas watching a tv display screen that confirmed Trump and Kim shaking arms in entrance of American and North Korean flags. “All the eye of our individuals is on Singapore,” Moon mentioned. “I, too, might hardly sleep final night time.”
Shortly earlier than the leaders met, Moon’s chief of workers wrote on Fb that the summit reminded him of his kid’s beginning.
“I bear in mind hovering across the supply room the day my daughter was born. I did not care whether or not you had been a boy or a lady. Simply come out to the world wholesome with an enormous cry,” Im Jong-seok wrote, apparently wishing for a profitable final result from the assembly between Trump and Kim.
Critics, nonetheless, noticed the handshake and Kim’s earlier moonlight stroll as proof Trump was serving to to legitimize Kim as his equal on the world stage although the North Korean regime has been accused of horrific rights abuses. Throughout his stroll Monday alongside the glittering Singapore waterfront, crowds yelled Kim’s identify and jostled to take footage, and the North Korean chief posed for a selfie with Singapore officers.
Final yr Kim was “Little Rocket Man,” in line with Trump, and U.S. officers frequently talked about his possible position within the assassination of his half-brother with nerve agent in a Malaysian airport, in addition to his uncle’s execution. Kim’s picture would now be bolstered, critics mentioned.
Sue Mi Terry, a former CIA analyst, advised MSNBC, “Kim Jong Un is ready. He is aware of what he desires, which is to achieve an … worldwide acceptance of North Korea as a nuclear weapons energy. He thinks he is coming into this assembly from a place of power as a result of he has reached sure functionality in his nuclear missile program. And he thinks he’ll now see what he can get out of the USA.”
Adam Mount, a U.S. protection analyst, expressed anger about seeing the U.S. and North Korean flags aspect by aspect.
“We must be working diligently to remodel North Korea and our relationship with it,” he tweeted. “However till that day, it is abhorrent to see a flag that stands for a lot struggling and cruelty standing with ours.”