White House ridiculed over coin that commemorates North Korea summit which hasn't happened yet – and gives Kim Jong-un some extra chins

'I wonder if Kim Jong Un will like the extra few chins they added to the Military Office coin'

Maya Oppenheim
Wednesday 23 May 2018 09:33 BST
Donald Trump reveals time and place for meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un

The White House has been mocked after it released a commemorative coin which featured a slimmer-looking Donald Trump head to head with a rather larger Kim Jong-un.

The item was minted by the White House Military Office – which designs coins for Mr Trump’s trips abroad – ahead of the US president’s planned summit with the North Korean leader in Singapore next month.

The piece displays profiles of Mr Trump and Mr Kim in front of US and North Korean flags beneath the heading “peace talks” written in English and Korean.

The coin describes the Asian leader as 'supreme leader', a term in common use though not an official title as such (AFP/Getty Images)

It describes the latter as “supreme leader”, which is a term commonly used to refer to Mr Kim albeit that it is not his official title. The other side of the coin shows Air Force One taking off over the White House.

The coin has been ridiculed on social media, where critics have not been slow to point out the less-than-even-handed treatment of the two men.

Mr Trump, leaning forward with an aquiline and steely gaze, seems to have something more by way of defined jawline than is always evident in real life. By contrast, his opposite number appears to be leaning back, accentuating the rolls of spare flesh around his neck, which the casting has carefully picked out with little creases.

However, it is not all bad news for Mr Kim – he is pictured eye to eye with Mr Trump, indicating a level of status and legitimacy many feel he does not deserve. His regime is accused of appalling human rights abuses, including rape, forced abortions, starvation and overwork leading to "countless deaths" in prison camps believed to hold between 80,000 and 130,000 of his citizens.

That is all beside the fact the event being commemorated by the coin is far from certain ever to take place.

If the meeting between the two leaders goes ahead on 12 June it will be the first summit between a sitting US president and the leader of the so-called “hermit kingdom”.

But there is growing uncertainty over the historic summit - with Mr Trump repeatedly saying he could pull out and North Korea threatening to cancel the landmark talks last week.

"Imagine being in such a rush to legitimise yourself as America’s president that you also rushed to legitimise Kim as 'Supreme Leader' of the DPRK," tweeted journalist Adam Weinstein.

Mr Trump has reportedly been focusing his attention on the landmark summit’s grandeur and optics instead of reading up on briefings on the complicated matter of North Korea’s nuclear programme. According to the Associated Press, he has been particularly absorbed in suspense-filled announcements that could emerge from the summit.

Last week North Korea said the country had no interest in “one-sided” negotiations to force Pyongyang to surrender its nuclear weapons. The US president attempted to soothe those tensions, promising Mr Kim would stay in power if the talks are to go ahead.

Mr Trump has been insistent that he is committed to the summit, but has previously issued warnings it might not take place, or that he could walk out if it looked like it was not possible to strike a deal.

If the milestone summit falls on its face, it would constitute a massive knock-back to what Trump supporters have pinned their hopes on being the biggest diplomatic achievement of his tenure.

The White House Communications Agency frequently releases commemorative or challenge coins to present to foreign guests, diplomats and members of the military. The White House Gift Office is selling a number of the coins.

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