Donald Trump made a frosty start to his meeting with Kim Jong-Un before the two leaders resumed the ‘grins of friendship’ they showed at their first summit, a body language expert has said.
Judi James said Trump and Kim had made a ‘rather more formal start’ as they greeted each other in Vietnam eight months after their first historic meeting in Singapore.
But she said the U.S. President had shown a ‘quasi-parental pose of concern and warmth’ as he tilted his head and made eye contact with the North Korean dictator.
Trump’s ‘power pats’ on Kim’s back were meant to show ’emphatic friendship in a superior style’ while Kim looked ‘keen to imply mutual approval’ by patting back, she said.
Friends: U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un smile as they greet each other in Hanoi today, at the start of their second summit
Speaking to MailOnline, she said: ‘Their first meeting turned into such a love-fest, with Trump investing heavily in signs of genuine bonding bordering on friendship that the rather more formal start to this meeting between the two leaders suggested some frost might have settled with time.
‘Trump walked towards Kim with his right hand extended and the palm turned slightly upward in a gesture of welcome that resembled a waiter serving drinks.
‘Trump’s arm was bent in the shake while Kim’s was outstretched with the right hand leaning down, as though trying to keep some distance at first.
‘The men employed eye contact, with Trump tilting his head to adopt a quasi-parental pose of concern and warmth.
‘The clasp was tight, with Kim’s thumb appearing to clamp the hands together.
‘Trump performed five power pats on Kim’s back in total, suggesting emphatic friendship but in a slightly superior style.
‘After the fourth pat Kim patted Trump back, looking keen to mirror to imply mutual approval.
Formal start: Body language expert Judi James told MailOnline that Kim had stretched his arm out ‘as though trying to keep some distance at first’ when the two leaders met today
Kim’s thump clamp: A close-up shot shows how the North Korean strongman appeared to secure the two leaders’ hands together
All smiles: The two leaders look cheerful as they make their opening remarks at the Vietnam summit, which comes eight months after their first historic meeting in Singapore
‘There was some, but not excessive, smiling between the two men but as they turned to the front again both adopted a military-looking pose with Trump in particular performing a mouth clamp to suggest a serious, alpha stance.’
When the two leaders sat together their handshake was ‘much more dramatic’, she said.
She went on: ‘Trump sat in his signature splay with his forward steepled hand gesture looking alpha and borderline bored.
‘Kim was in full splay mode, sitting rather more confidently and openly with his legs splayed and his hands on his knees.
‘Trump sat nodding slightly at nothing in particular but once they caught one another’s eye the very grim facial expressions dropped and we saw more of the grins of friendship that appeared during their first meet.
‘Trump threw his hand forward to shake in a powerful, lightning gesture and Kim’s grin widened as he extended his right arm.
Eye contact: Judi James said the U.S. President had shown a ‘quasi-parental pose of concern and warmth’ as he tilted his head and made eye contact with the North Korean dictator
Last time: Trump gives Kim the thumbs-up during their first summit in Singapore last year
‘Overall there appeared to be a performed gravitas with both men adopting a rather determined expression bordering on the grim-faced from Trump at times but beneath the serious veneer there were signs that both were happy to re-establish the signals of friendship they had built up the first time around.’
In his opening remarks Trump again dangled the promise of prosperity for North Korea if Pyongyang gives up its nuclear ambitions.
‘I think that your country has tremendous economic potential. Unbelievable. Unlimited,’ he said.
The Singapore summit had followed sustained and personal insults between the pair over Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
With tests halted since the thaw in relations, Trump hopes for more progress on denuclearisation from Kim.
Reflecting on Singapore, Trump said: ‘I thought the first summit was a great success and I think this one, hopefully, will be equal or greater than the first.’
Speaking through an interpreter, Kim said he is ‘confident of achieving the great results that everyone will welcome’.