According to a new BBC documentary, Donald Trump offered North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a trip home on Air Force One after a summit in Hanoi two years ago.
Kim and Trump first waged a war of words and mutual threats before an extraordinary diplomatic bromance ensued that included high-profile summits and a declaration of love from the former US president.
However, no significant progress was made as the process stalled after the couple’s meeting in Hanoi failed because of sanction relief and Pyongyang’s willingness to surrender in return.
According to a BBC documentary, “Trump Takes on the World,” the US President “stunned even the most seasoned diplomats” by offering Kim an elevator home at Air Force One after the 2019 Vietnam Summit.
If Kim had accepted the offer, it would have put the North Korean leader – and likely part of his entourage – on the US President’s official plane and seen it enter North Korean airspace, raising several security issues.
Just in case, Kim declined.
“President Trump offered Kim to take Air Force One home,” Matthew Pottinger, the leading Asia expert on Trump’s National Security Council, told the BBC, it was reported over the weekend.
“The president knew that Kim had arrived in Hanoi on a multi-day train journey through China, and the president said, ‘I can get you home in two hours if you want.’ Kim refused. “
At his first summit with Trump in Singapore in 2018, Kim took a flight with Air China. Beijing wanted to keep North Korea – whose existence as a buffer state keeps US troops in the south of China’s borders away – within its sphere of influence.
During the Singapore summit, Trump gave Kim a glimpse into his presidential car – a $ 1.5 million Cadillac also known as “The Beast” – on a show of their new friendly relationship.
But last month Kim said the US was the “greatest enemy” of his nuclear-armed nation, adding that Washington’s “anti-North Korean policy” would never “change” who is in power.
The North Korean official media has not yet named Joe Biden, who defeated Trump in last year’s election, as U.S. President.