New video footage broadcast by Korea Central Television on Thursday sparked surprise among some in the U.S. when it showed President Donald Trump saluting No Kwang Chol, Minister of People’s Armed Forces of the DPRK.
Trump met No at Tuesday’s summit in Singapore as Kim Jong Un was introducing senior members of his government who had traveled to the meeting.
No briefly extends his hand for a handshake but then salutes Donald Trump and returns for a handshake. Trump, on seeing the salute returns it then the two shake hands.
The action brought criticism from several quarters, notably those who had served. It was also widely questioned by the media.
“I’ve saluted many times in my life. This sure as hell wouldn’t have been one. Awful,” wrote Rep. Tim Walz (Democrat, Minnesota), on Twitter.
And Retired Army Major General Paul Eaton, who advises the VoteVets group, wrote “It is wholly inappropriate for the commander in chief of our armed forces to salute the military of our adversary, especially one which is responsible for a regime of terror, murder and unspeakable horror against its own people.”
The White House defended the salute on Thursday afternoon.
“It’s a common courtesy when a military official from another government salutes, that you return that,” said Sarah Sanders, White House press secretary, at a briefing.
The criticism is the latest for Trump from observers who have picked apart stages of the Singapore summit, from the preparation to the execution.
Surprising as it was to see, there’s another aspect that wasn’t widely considered in the U.S. on Thursday: North Koreans got to see the leader of their armed forces saluting the U.S. president.
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