Trump ‘offered Kim Jong-un a ride on Air Force One’ after Hanoi summit

Donald Trump had also agreed to Kim Jong-un’s request to cancel joint military exercises between the US and South Korea

Namita Singh
Monday 22 February 2021 08:00

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Former US President Donald Trump had reportedly offered North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un a lift home on the Air Force One after a summit in Hanoi in 2019, according to a new BBC documentary.

Mr Trump’s meetings with Mr Kim were among the most eye-catching moments of his presidency, culminating in the former president declaring his love for the North Korean leader after a summit in Singapore in 2018.

He told a crowd at a campaign rally: “He wrote me beautiful letters and they’re great letters. We fell in love.”

But no substantive progress was made after their meeting in Hanoi in 2019 and the discussion was stalled as the US refused to lift sanctions until North Korea abandoned its nuclear programme. According to a BBC documentary, "Trump Takes on the World", the US president "stunned even the most seasoned diplomats" by offering the North Korea dictator a ride home on the official presidential aircraft after the summit in Vietnam.

“President Trump offered Kim a lift home on Air Force One,” Matthew Pottinger, the top Asia expert on Mr Trump’s National Security Council, told the BBC. “The president knew that Kim had arrived on a multi-day train ride through China into Hanoi and the president said: ‘I can get you home in two hours if you want.’ Kim declined.”

According to the documentary, that was not the only time when the then-US president shocked his team with the grand gesture. The BBC reported that Mr Trump also agreed to Mr Kim’s request to cancel joint military exercises between the US and South Korea.

Kim Jong-un, as he had many times in the past, complained about the big joint exercises between South Korea and American forces, which had been going on on the Korean peninsula for about 60 years plus,” former national security adviser, John Bolton told the BBC.

“Trump, out of nowhere, said, ‘I’m going to cancel the war games [as he called them]. There’s no need for them, they’re expensive and it will make you happy.’ I couldn’t believe it,” said Mr Bolton.

He added that he was sitting with secretary of state Mike Pompeo and the then-chief of staff John Kelly, who were not consulted. “It was a concession for which we got nothing in return,” he was quoted as saying by the BBC.

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