In the latest episode of the original BBC series “Trump Takes On the World”, new details have emerged about one of the meetings between the American president and the North Korean dictator.
The series, directed by Tim Stirzaker, examines the summits attended by Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, providing new details about the events that took place there, even from people who were in the same room with the two leaders.
One of the incredible stories about the two took place during the second meeting between them, in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February 2019. The meeting did not go according to plan, Trump suddenly leaving the room, but not before telling the press that “Sometimes you just have to go.”
But before he left, the president of the United States made an astonishing offer to Kim Jong-un, who astonished all the diplomats present. Matthew Pottinger, the main Asian expert on the president’s National Security Council, says “President Trump offered Kim to take him home with Air Force One. He knew that he (No. Kim) had come by train on a journey that lasted a few days through China to Hanoi, and the president told him that he could take him home in two hours if he wished. Kim refused. “
Foto: Getty Images
The offer to “take home” the North Korean was a huge surprise, but there was a precedent. Some time ago, in Singapore, the two met and John Bolton, a security adviser, says about that moment that “Trump thought he had made a new best friend.” At that meeting, Trump shocked again, accepting Kim’s request to stop military exercises carried out in collaboration with the US and South Korean armies.
Trump then said out of the blue that he would cancel the war games (as he called them). “You don’t need them, they are expensive and they will make you happy.” I couldn’t believe it, “Bolton said in a statement to the BBC.
The secret message for Kim
The fact that the meeting between the two in Hanoi took place was a surprise to many, considering that just a few months ago, Trump called Kim the “Rocket Man” and threatened North Korea with “fire and anger”. One of the United Nations officials, Jeff Feltman, recounts how, in one of the biggest moments of the conflict between the two, he delivered a secret message inviting Trump to a meeting.
At the time, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Feltman was invited to Pyongyang by North Koreans, but US officials suggested he not go. A few weeks after that, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited the White House.
According to Feltman, “(no Guterres and Trump) they were talking about what was happening, what was likely to happen, how dangerous the moment was, if a military response is possible, things like that. And Secretary-General Guterres told President Trump that “Jeff Feltman has a strange invitation to go to Pyongyang and talk to the North Koreans.” Trump approached him and told him I should go and tell them he wanted to talk to Kim Jong-un. “
When Feltman arrived in Pyongyang, he stressed the gravity of the situation. “The key message I wanted to convey was that what they see as a deterrent to starting a war could be the very thing that causes a war,” he says. The UN official then requested a meeting with the Korean foreign minister to convey Trump’s secret message to him.
“It was a little quiet before the foreign minister said, ‘I don’t believe you, why should I believe you?’ I replied that I did not ask him to believe me, but that the UN had given me the confidence to convey this message from President Trump. I was just the messenger.
I went to Pyongyang very, very worried that a war is imminent. We left terrified that we risked accidentally provoking that war, ”Feltman recalls.
The South Korean ambassador “almost fell off his chair” following a response from Trump
Kim did not respond directly to Trump’s message, but a few months later he contacted the South Koreans, telling them he was ready to meet with the US president. The South Korean national security adviser then traveled quickly to the White House to inform Trump of this.
HR McMaster, then a US national security adviser, describes the moment Trump said “yes” to the meeting: “Ambassador Chung almost fell off his chair because he thought it would be hard to convince.”
Like many other American officials, McMaster had serious reservations about meeting Kim, but he knew Trump could not be stopped. “I felt it was better to let Kim Jong-un feel pressure for a longer period of time. But, of course, the president could not resist the opportunity, “McMaster notes.
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