Trump-Kim Summit: Trump and Kim’s historic handshake gets touchy-feely as the two unexpectedly buddy up to each other

Kevin Lim/THE STRAITS TIMES

Marking the first meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader, President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un finally met face to face and exchanged greetings on June 12 in Singapore, a symbolic event viewed by many as the heralding of world peace in a new era.

Their first handshake lasted for 12 seconds and their time on the Capella Hotel’s porch took no more than two minutes but the short episode revealed plenty about the complex psyche of the two world leaders who have shared a turbulent public relationship peppered with episodes of belligerence and vitriol.

Their first encounter in the flesh though, may have just uncovered hidden potential for an unprecedented but lasting friendship.

Here’s a deeper look at the historic first handshake between Trump and Kim.

Within seconds of stepping onto the Capella Hotel’s porch, Trump made the first move and took the initiative to offer Kim the highly anticipated handshake. After extending his hand for about a second, Kim swiftly joined hands with him.

Kevin Lim/THE STRAITS TIMES

Just a split second after taking Kim’s hand, Trump briefly grasped his upper right arm – possibly a display of Trump’s eagerness to show Kim that he meant no harm. This time, Trump avoided taking the offensive and kept an equal distance during the handshake, instead of using his infamous jerking “pull to the chest” manoeuvre.

As they shook hands, Trump was in control of the situation as he wobbled Kim’s arm at intervals. Compared with most of Trump’s other longer legendary handshakes, this one was surprisingly tame and lasted a modest 12 seconds.

Kevin Lim/THE STRAITS TIMES

Trump then invited Kim to turn for photos and showed that he was still running the show. Kim seemingly danced to Trump’s tune.

Kevin Lim/THE STRAITS TIMES

While most world leaders would put on their best smiles and shake hands for the cameras, Trump and Kim adopted eerily stiff postures. Kim opted for a deadpan expression while Trump seemed unsure and went with a pained, slanted half-grin.

Kevin Lim/THE STRAITS TIMES

Taking the lead once again, Trump motioned Kim to walk to the hotel’s library while patting the North Korean leader twice on the side of his left arm. As the two prepared to leave, Trump raised his left hand to direct Kim towards the left corridor and his right hand briefly touched Kim’s upper back. The beginning of a “buddy” relationship perhaps?

Kevin Lim/THE STRAITS TIMES

Before walking down the corridor to the library, Trump and Kim stopped for a short chat. Interestingly, Trump chose to sidle up to Kim at an angle, instead of taking a more direct confrontational stance. Trump’s method allowed for an unexpectedly intimate moment.

After exchanging pats on the arm and one more handshake to affirm their budding friendship, Trump and Kim headed to the library with their interpreters to address the media, sharing smiles along the way.

Kevin Lim/THE STRAITS TIMES

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