A top former U.S. official revealed that former President Donald Trump has unexpectedly offered North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un a ride home through Air Force One when the two have met in Hanoi, Vietnam for their second summit last 2019.
The offer was declined by Kim, the ex-U.S. official said.
In BBC’s documentary “Trump Takes on the World”, a former deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger said that Trump had offered Kim the ride after their discussions regarding North Korea’s nuclear program last February 2019.
“President Trump offered Kim a lift home on Air Force One. 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,” Pottinger, who also specializes in Asia policy, told BBC.
The said offer, which had just surfaced, marked the first time a top official or the leader of a secluded country would be offered a lift using the vehicle of the U.S. president.
Apart from Pottinger, other officials from the former Trump administration revealed information on his exchange of ideas with the North Korea leader during the Hanoi summit.
“Trump thought he had a new best friend,” said John Bolton, a former national security adviser, to BBC.
The BBC documentary also reported that Kim has requested Trump to cancel combined military drills between the U.S. and South Korea, which the former U.S. President agreed.
“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,” said Bolton.
“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,” he furthered.
Secretary of the state Mike Pompeo and the chief of staff that time, John Kelly, sat along Trump, and were not even consulted on the matter.
“It was a concession for which we got nothing in return,” he said.
The U.S. and North Korea’s first real negotiation happened at the summit between Trump and Kim. The negotiations, however, resulted in no significant progress to the relations between the two nations or the status of the missile program of North Korea.