Trump Hits North Korean Officials with Power Move During Official White House Visit


So, the June 12 “Megaroar in Singapore” between Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump is back on. I admit, it doesn’t have the same ring as the “Thrilla in Manila” or “Rumble in the Jungle,” but it probably has way more geopolitical consequences than Ali-Frasier II or III.

The meeting is back on after Gen. Kim Yong Chol came to New York City to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday.

“President Trump and I believe Chairman Kim is the kind of leader who can make those kinds of decisions. And that in the coming weeks and months, we will have the opportunity to test whether or not this is the case,” Pompeo said, after announcing the meeting was back on.

On Friday, Gen. Kim became the highest-level member of the North Korean hierarchy to visit the White House in 20 years, bearing a letter for the president from Kim Jong Un.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Kim’s letter included allusions to moving forward with the peace process without making any substantive guarantees regarding denuclearization, a source briefed on it reported.

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However, few noticed Trump making a power move as the North Korean delegation left the White House. See if you can spot it:

As you can notice, the president does not bow to anyone in the North Korean delegation, merely shaking their hands. It’s not like Trump didn’t know typical protocol in these situation with Korean leaders, he simply wasn’t willing to make the accommodation.

Now, just curious, what do you think the odds would have been that former President Barack Obama would have bowed to the delegation? Of course, the meeting would have never happened, thanks to the deferential policy of “strategic patience.” But I digress.

Do you think Trump will be able to secure the denuclearization of North Korea?

As for the letter-opening, the BBC’s Tara McKelvey called the drama “vintage Trump.”

“The letter itself is an old-fashioned gesture. But it captures the drama of a reality TV show and, in this case, reflects a high-stakes diplomatic one,” McKelvey said.

“President Trump has spoken of the possibility of winning a Nobel Peace Prize for his negotiations with the North Koreans, and the delivery of the letter moves him closer to the summit and the talks.

“Regardless of what happens with the letter or the summit, though, he’s captured the world’s attention again today — not to mention high ratings.”

Well, it certainly made for good TV — although probably not so much in Pyongyang, I’d imagine. It’s a good thing they don’t have a whole lot of TVs there, or at least access to any news channel that likely broadcast this.

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The thing is that high drama is a lot of what these summits are about. Take Reagan-Gorbachev, for example. Before their Geneva talks in 1985, the press liked to portray Gorbachev as a young reformer who could not only save the USSR but return it to the heady days of Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin (to quote one famous Scottish-Russian source on the matter). Reagan, meanwhile, was seen as the doddering old face of the Republican Party, someone who’d be blown over by the younger, more energetic Gorbachev.

So Reagan made a simple decision: He didn’t wear a coat.

When he met Gorbachev at the airport, in spite of the protestations of his staff, Reagan withstood the freezing cold in his suit. Gorbachev, who was bundled up in a bulky coat and a hat, looked like he couldn’t take the weather.

Advantage, Ronnie.

Perhaps what Trump pulled Friday wasn’t a coup like that. However, to those on the Korean Peninsula, it showed the world just who was boss. That could be a huge move ahead of the “Furor in Singapore.”

… look, if you pronounce “furor” correctly, it works. Seriously, try saying it as if you were a Briton, something like “fur-ORE.” See? Totally natural. I’m going to make this a thing.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture