Kim Jong Un went off script during his meeting with the South Korean president — and that could have big implications for Trump

 

  • Kim Jong Un appeared to go off script twice during the beginning of a summit between the leaders of North and South Korea on Friday.
  • Each moment of the diplomatic affair was carefully planned out, but Kim invited President Moon Jae-in to step across into North Korea, and later he appeared to backtrack one of his jokes.
  • US intelligence officials will be watching the summit closely trying to analyze Kim to help determine the best strategy for dealing with North Korea ahead of Kim's future meeting with President Donald Trump.
  • Kim's spontaneous actions and comments could help build a relationship with Trump, who regularly goes off-script. But it could also spell disaster.


Friday's summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in was planned down to every last footstep.

The two countries even did a joint rehearsal of their two leaders meeting, shaking hands, and walking around the grounds of the Demilitarized Zone using stand-ins to make sure every second was calibrated as best as possible for the world's cameras.

But for a moment on Friday, Kim went completely off script.

After shaking hands with Moon and stepping across the border line into South Korea, Kim invited Moon to step back into North Korea with him.

The South Korean president's residence, The Blue House, confirmed the moment was "unscheduled." According to a spokesman, Moon asked Kim, "When do I get to visit the North," to which Kim replied "Why don't you just come over to the North side now?"

23 PHOTOS
Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-In meet at DMZ
See Gallery
Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-In meet at DMZ
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shake hands at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attend a welcoming ceremony in the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet in the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters
People watch a TV showing a live broadcast of the inter-Korean summit, at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attend a welcoming ceremony in the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet in the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters
People watch a TV showing a live broadcast of the inter-Korean summit, at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
People wave the Korean unification flag during the inter-Korean summit, near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-ji
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet in the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attend a welcoming ceremony in the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters
Soldiers keep watch on the Grand Unification Bridge that leads to the Peace House, the venue for the Inter-Korean summit, near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-ji
People hold the Korean unification flag as they watch a news report on the inter-Korean summit, near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-ji
People watch a TV showing a live broadcast of the inter-Korean summit, at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attend a welcoming ceremony in the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters
People watch a television news screen showing live footage of the inter-Korean summit between South Korea's President Moon Jae-in (on screen L) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (on screen R) at a railway station in Seoul on April 27, 2018. - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the South's President Moon Jae-in shook hands on April 27 over the Military Demarcation Line that divides their countries in a gesture laden with symbolism ahead of a historic summit. (Photo by Jung Yeon-je / AFP) (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
Vehicles carrying South Korean president Moon Jae-in approach a military check point on the Unification Bridge, linked to North Korea, near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Paju, South Korea, on Friday, April 27, 2018. Kim Jong Un�on Friday became the first North Korean leader to enter South Korea since the peninsula was divided almost seven decades ago as talks begin over dismantling his nuclear weapons program. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Vehicles carrying South Korean president Moon Jae-in pass a military check point on the Unification Bridge, linked to North Korea, near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Paju, South Korea, on Friday, April 27, 2018. Kim Jong Un�on Friday became the first North Korean leader to enter South Korea since the peninsula was divided almost seven decades ago as talks begin over dismantling his nuclear weapons program. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
South Korean President Moon Jae-in (C) is greeted by his supporters as he leaves for the truce village of Panmunjom, near the presidential Blue House in Seoul on April 27, 2018 ahead of the inter-Korea summit. - North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and the South's president Moon Jae-in will meet at the Military Demarcation Line that divides the peninsula before their summit on March 27, Seoul said, in an occasion laden with symbolism. (Photo by Jung Yeon-je / various sources / AFP) (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
South Korean President Moon Jae-in (C) is greeted by his supporters as he leaves for the truce village of Panmunjom, near the presidential Blue House in Seoul on April 27, 2018 ahead of the inter-Korea summit. - North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and the South's president Moon Jae-in will meet at the Military Demarcation Line that divides the peninsula before their summit on March 27, Seoul said, in an occasion laden with symbolism. (Photo by Jung Yeon-je / various sources / AFP) (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
The motorcade carrying South Korean President Moon Jae-in passes through Seoul as he heads to a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on April 27, 2018. - North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and the South's president Moon Jae-in will meet at the Military Demarcation Line that divides the peninsula before their summit on March 27, Seoul said, in an occasion laden with symbolism. (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP) (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)
South Korean President Moon Jae-in (C) is greeted by his supporters as he leaves for the truce village of Panmunjom, near the presidential Blue House in Seoul on April 27, 2018 ahead of the inter-Korea summit. - North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and the South's president Moon Jae-in will meet at the Military Demarcation Line that divides the peninsula before their summit on March 27, Seoul said, in an occasion laden with symbolism. (Photo by Jung Yeon-je / various sources / AFP) (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet in the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet in the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The sudden invite didn't appear to worry Moon, who was seen laughing and talking with Kim, before the two paused for a handshake on the North Korean side.

At another point, Kim appeared to go off script again joking about the famous cold noodles he had brought in from Pyongyang, which is "far."

"I suppose I shouldn't say 'far' now," he seemed to quickly backtrack.

But the two moments, however light-hearted, will probably be taken very seriously by the US intelligence community.

Kim is an incredibly secretive leader — he even travels with his own toilet to prevent his health being analyzed through his excrements — which means intelligence officials rely on any and all clues to understand how he thinks and operates.

Intelligence officials told Reuters that experts will closely watch the inter-Korean summit and analyze what Kim says as well as his body language.

The current profile of Kim focuses on his tendencies for ruthlessness as well as rationality. But inviting Moon on a surprise visit to the North could also hint at a tendency for spontaneity.

This could pose a problem for the Trump administration's strategy for meeting with Kim.

Trump himself is incredibly spontaneous, often veering off-script in ways that can create awkward, and at times, offensive, moments with world leaders.

Having two leaders with a propensity for improvisation steer the US-North Korea summit could create a positive middle ground and help build a personal relationship between Kim and Trump

Or there could now be twice the chance of something being done or said in error, spelling disaster for bilateral negotiations.

SEE ALSO: The historic summit between South Korea and North Korea is being planned down to the millimeter — this is everything we know so far

NOW WATCH: Wall Street's biggest bull explains why trade war fears are way overblown

Read Full Story