When President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un met in Singapore, they exchanged plenty of words using language — but that wasn't the only way they were communicating. Trump and Kim Jong Un's body language also spoke volumes, conveying piles of information that wouldn't become clear just by reading descriptions of what the two agreed on.
Just from the initial handshake between Trump and Kim, their body language made it clear that the two were each trying to establish dominance, according to the BBC. During the actual handshake, they were very clearly on equal terms, as their postures, grips, and the flags of their respective countries behind them attested. Trump, then, gripped Kim's arm and eventually began leading him off the stage, which the BBC said was a sign that he was trying to establish dominance — and according to Reuters, then, Kim made a similar move as they were walking toward their next stop.
At the same time, though, their postures toward each other during the handshake also showed that the two seemed comfortable in each other's presence, according to body language expert Dr. Lillian Glass.
"They are in sync, as they look directly into one another's eyes and both smile at one another. Their feet are also pointed at one another, indicating they like one another," Glass tells Bustle about their postures during the first handshake. "Trump's hand is relaxed and they are close in distance to one another, which is also a good sign of cohesiveness."
Reuters wrote that at various times during their short chat, both men displayed feelings of unease, with Trump fidgeting with his hands and Kim leaning on one arm of the chair and at times looking at the ground. This didn't last the entire time, however. Glass points out that in their handshake in the library, they seemed very open and receptive to each other.
"They both lean in towards one another, which is a good sign as is the genuine smile of Kim with apples of his cheeks raised and open-mouthed smile," she says. Trump was also wearing a genuine smile, Glass notes, but in her opinion he also appeared to be holding something back, perhaps until the final papers of the agreement are signed.
As the two of them walked, Glass believes that they appeared very comfortable with each other and with the situation. "They are walking in sync and in tandem," Glass tells Bustle. "Their body language mirrors one another, with open hands and arms at their sides indicating they are both open and relaxed around one another."
In a later photo from the encounter when the two were waiting to sign the joint agreement pledging denuclearization, Glass picked up signs that Kim was paying Trump a compliment, and that Trump was very satisfied with the proceedings.
"Kim mirrors Trump, which is a great sign and the biggest compliment to Trump, as both of their hands are clasped," Glass says. "Trump is happy with how it is going but he doesn't want to fully express it as he wants to hold in his excitement — hence the tightly lipped grin."
Trump's words also indicated that he believed things were going well. Trump said attending the summit was an "honor," and his body language showed that satisfaction throughout the meeting. Kim's evident happiness with the meeting made more sense geopolitically, as he is the first despot in his family of brutal despots to gain a meeting on equal footing with the most powerful country in the world, as the BBC wrote.
There's no doubting that at least judging by their body language, Trump and Kim were pleased to be interacting with each other and to be working together in an attempt to work out the two countries' lasting issues with each other.