Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un met Tuesday in front of the world’s cameras, against the backdrop of flags of the United States and North Korea.
The leaders approached each other on a red carpet from separate outdoor hallways at the airy and luxurious Capella Hotel on Singapore’s Sentosa Island.
When it came time to finally shake hands, the they both flashed guarded smiles. Trump briefly touched Kim’s right upper arm, then they turned to face the cameras. The leaders moved off to the side, greeted by two individuals who appeared to be translators.
A camera from above showed them touching each others’ arms in a friendly manner, with remarkably relaxed body language considering the magnitude of the moment.
Thumbs up from Trump
In a nearby meeting room, the leaders sat side-by-side. Trump leaned forward with his hands clasped. Kim leaned to his left in a casual manner toward the US President.
Trump spoke first.
“I feel really great, we’re about to have a great discussion,” Trump said. “I think it will be tremendously successful, and it’s my honor and we will have a terrific relationship. I have no doubt.”
Kim then gave a few words.
“It has not been easy to come to this point. For us the past has been holding us back, and old practices and prejudices have been covering our eyes and ears, but we have been able to overcome everything to arrive here today,” Kim said in Korean.
In response, Trump offered Kim a thumbs up. They then reached over to shake each hands, again smiling.
Trump and Kim’s started their summit with a personal meeting, joined only by two translators. It lasted 38 minutes.
The two leaders then strolled through the Capella Hotel. “Excellent relationship,” Trump said from the balcony.
As they walked on the colonnade, Kim remarked that many people around the world wouldn’t believe what was taking place in Singapore.
“Many people in the world will think of this as a (inaudible) form of fantasy … from a science fiction movie,” Kim told Trump, through a translator.
At a large meeting table, Trump and Kim began their second series of talks, this time with advisers including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, national security adviser John Bolton, and White House chief of staff John Kelly.
On the North Korean side, Kim was joined by his chief diplomat Kim Yong Chol, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and Ri Su Yong, Vice-Chairman of the Central Committee of the Worker’s Party of Korea.
“We will be successful,” Trump said to Kim, who sat across the table. “And I look forward to working on it with you. It will be done.”
Dennis Rodman gets emotional
Former basketball star Dennis Rodman, who has previously boasted of his role in bringing Trump and Kim together, broke down in tears during an interview CNN’s Chris Cuomo.
“It’s a great day,” said Rodman, who arrived in Singapore overnight. “I’m here to see it. I’m so happy.”
Rodman is in the unique position of having personal relationships with both leaders; he participated on Trump’s pre-presidency TV show “The Celebrity Apprentice,” and has visited Kim several times in North Korea, calling him “a good friend.”
When asked about Kim’s politics and past actions, Rodman deflected.
“I’m not a politician,” Rodman said. “I don’t need to worry about the war stuff, all the stuff that’s going on — I don’t know anything about that.”
What they ate
Kim and Trump’s working lunch featured a mix of Western and Korean dishes.
Options for appetizers included a prawn cocktail with avocado salad, green mango kerabu and “oiseon,” a Korean stuffed cucumber.
The menu also featured beef short rib confit, sweet and sour crispy pork with Yangzhou Fried Rice or “daegu jorim,” a Korean soy braised cod fish.
Finally to finish, there was dark chocolate tartlet ganache, vanilla ice cream or “tropezienne,” a pastry dessert.
The advisers from the extended talks also attended the lunch, along with a few new additions, including Sarah Sanders, the White House Press Secretary, and Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un’s sister and the first deputy director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea.
Trump shows off the Beast
After the lunch, as Trump and Kim walked through the grounds of the Capella, they seemed to take a detour, veering toward the road.
It seemed Trump wanted to show Kim the US presidential limousine, known as the “Beast.”
Trump was seen talking and gesturing at the heavily armored limousine, before Secret Service agents opened the door and the leaders took a peek inside.