North Korea put its own spin on the historic meeting between its leader, Kim Jong-un, and President Trump in a video that aired on state television on Thursday, two days after they met in Singapore.
But in the United States, the footage is drawing attention for an awkward exchange between Mr. Trump and a North Korean general that was unseen in international coverage of the event.
While greeting North Korean dignitaries after his initial handshake with Mr. Kim, Mr. Trump proceeded down the line shaking hands, the video shows. When Mr. Trump offered his hand to Gen. No Kwang-chol, who was recently promoted to defense chief, the general saluted instead.
Mr. Trump quickly raised his own hand and saluted back, a gesture that is now drawing debate over military and diplomatic protocol.
The 42-minute-long video aired on the state-run KCTV and was enthusiastically presented by the North Korean television mainstay Ri Chun-hee. Much of the program, which followed Mr. Kim throughout his trip, was overlaid with soaring patriotic music and breathless narration.
The video was bookended by two scenes from Pyongyang: Mr. Kim’s departure amid enthusiastic waves from military officers as he boarded an Air China flight; and his return to another waving crowd of officers.
The footage also showed a smiling Mr. Kim strolling through the streets of Singapore with Vivian Balakrishnan, the country’s minister for foreign affairs, as cameras flashed and dozens of people raised their smartphones to take photos.
It was Mr. Trump’s salute that had many in the U.S. talking.
Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, a retired United States Army general, criticized the salute in a statement.
“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,” General Eaton said.
Others pointed out that with North and South Korea still technically at war (a formal armistice was never signed), it was inappropriate for Mr. Trump to salute the general of an adversary.
Others defended the salute, pointing out that General No had initiated it and saying that Mr. Trump was being polite in return.
As commander in chief, presidents have long been saluted, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that President Ronald Reagan began returning the gesture. Since then, presidents often salute members of the American military.
But the protocol for when its appropriate for a president to salute those outside the American military has remained murky, and former presidents have drawn criticism for their saluting etiquette.
President Barack Obama was criticized in 2014 for saluting a military officer while holding a cup of coffee.