▶ ‘Film’ starring Kim piques imaginations.
In his pitch Tuesday to persuade North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to abandon nuclear weapons, President Trump called upon his experiences as a casting director, real estate developer and, perhaps, a bluffer in negotiations.
Mr. Trump, who starred in his long-running television show “The Apprentice,” cast Mr. Kim as the star of his own film, a four-minute video from Destiny Pictures that was similar in presentation to a movie trailer in the U.S. — narrated, with a musical score.
The president showed Mr. Kim the video, which depicted the North Korean leader and Mr. Trump as two men who could change the course of history.
Mr. Kim and several members of his delegation viewed the video, translated into Korean, on an iPad as the talks concluded.
It showed the two leaders on equal footing: “Two men, two leaders, one destiny.”
“There comes a time when only a few are called upon to make a difference,” the narrator intones. “The question is, what difference will the few make?”
The video contrasts images of a bleak, poverty-ridden society with photos of a prosperous, advanced culture that enjoys skyscrapers and high-speed trains.
“It captures what could be done [in North Korea],” Mr. Trump said. “It has the potential to be a great place. That could very well be the future. And the other alternative is just not a very good alternative. But I showed it because I really want him to do something.”
The video shows images of warplanes and artillery. The narrator says there can “only be two results” — moving backward or moving forward. The narrator says of Mr. Kim, “Will this leader choose to advance his country and be part of a new world? Be the hero of his people? Will he shake the hand of peace and enjoy prosperity like he has never seen?”
“I think he loved it,” Mr. Trump said. “About eight of their representatives were watching it, and I thought they were fascinated.”
Mr. Trump also knows real estate, and in his high-stakes talks about North Korea’s future, he emphasized: location, location, location.
In the video and in conversation, Mr. Trump pointed out the opportunities for development if North Korea joins the community of nations and opens its doors to investors.
“It’s going to be up to the people what they want,” he said. “As an example, they have great beaches. You see that whenever they’re exploding their cannons into the ocean, right? I said, ‘Boy, look at that place. Wouldn’t that make a great condo?’ And I explained it, I said, ‘Instead of doing that, you could have the best hotels in the world right there.’”
He said North Korea’s location is ideal. “Think of it from a real estate perspective,” Mr. Trump said. “You have South Korea. You have China, and they own the land in the middle. How bad is that, right? It’s great. But I told him, I said, ‘You may not want to do what’s there. You may want to do a smaller version of it and that could be.’ Although, I tell you what, he looked at that tape. He looked at that iPad, and I’m telling you they really enjoyed it, I believe.”
As far as bluffing, it’s not clear what Mr. Trump is or isn’t willing to do militarily. But he told Sean Hannity of Fox News that there was a method to his “fire and fury” madness with North Korea.
Mr. Trump said he is certain his warlike rhetoric last year against Mr. Kim persuaded the North Korean leader to negotiate over giving up his nuclear weapons.
“I think without the rhetoric, we wouldn’t have been here,” Mr. Trump said. “I really believe that.”
As North Korea was conducting multiple missile tests last year and threatening to attack the U.S., Mr. Trump responded with rhetoric that was unusually aggressive for a U.S. leader. He taunted Mr. Kim as “little rocket man” and warned that the U.S. would “totally destroy” North Korea.
“I hated to do it,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Hannity. “Sometimes I felt foolish doing it. But we had no choice.”
He said previous administrations “had a policy of silence.”
“If [North Korea] said something very bad and very threatening, even horrible — just don’t answer,” he said of previous administrations. “That’s not the answer. That’s not what you have to do. We did sanctions and all of the things you would do, but without the rhetoric … we wouldn’t have been here.”