Mock movie trailer starring Trump and Kim resembles North Korean propaganda, says historian

A White House movie trailer-style video depicting U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as heroes was made to help negotiate peace. But did it have a positive affect?

4-minute video is exactly what Kim Jong-un's people would put together, says Bradley K. Martin

U.S. President Donald Trump reaches for North Korea leader Kim Jong-un after they signed documents at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island, Singapore on June 12, 2018. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)
Listen19:28

Read Story Transcript

Long-time Pyongyang observer and historian Bradley K. Martin says Kim Jong-un was likely a fan of the movie trailer-like video that featured the North Korean leader co-starring alongside U.S. President Donald Trump.

"It's precisely the sort of thing that his own people would put together. It looked like North Korean propaganda," Bradley K. Martin told The Current's guest host Connie Walker.

He added that Kim would appreciate the overall thrust and showmanship displayed in the video, and that North Koreans will probably use it for their own purposes.

The 4-minute video was produced to help persuade Kim Jong-un to make a deal on denuclearization, a White House official told Reuters. A screening of the trailer was viewed just before the historic meeting between the two leaders.

"I think he loved it," Trump said in a Reuters report. He gave Kim his own copy.

U.S. President Donald Trump showed a video styled after a movie trailer in which North Korea's Kim Jong-un is offered a choice between prosperity and isolation 2:35

But Mickey Bergman has been shaking his head since watching the trailer. He was part of the negotiating team that helped obtain the release of American student Otto Warmbier, who was imprisoned in North Korea in 2016 and died after returning to the U.S.

"[The video] demonstrates Trump's deep, deep, deep misunderstanding of the North Korean people and their leader," Bergman told Walker.

Trump is too blinded by his capitalist mindset to properly understand North Korean society, the elite military and political families, he said.

"From their perspective they are the last surviving true socialist experiment. They outlasted the Soviet Union. They outlasted China as it reformed, they outlasted Cuba as it reformed. It's their proud moment," Bergman explained.

"Donald Trump is confusing carrots and sticks here. He thinks he's offering a carrot. But if Kim Jong-un actually gets what Trump is offering him, it might be the end of the Kim Jong-un dynasty."

Listen to the full conversation near the top of this post.


With files from Reuters. This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino and Willow Smith.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.