Watching your great coverage of the Singapore Summit daily and wanted to throw in my comments-opinion about the North Korean General and President Trump saluting each other.
Having served my country for 6 years in the U.S. Army (4 of those years in the 8th US Army, Seoul), I am still very aware of saluting protocols, as well as parade drills and other military standards since they were “drilled” into me like everyone else, you just can’t forget them. And what I remember about saluting in the U.S. Army..and this applies to all branches of the military I was told..is that you never salute inside a structure, only outside. And proper military protocols require any caps or headgear be removed when entering a structure, no matter what your rank. In ceremonial circumstances you will observe various military persons wearing their headgear inside which would indicate to me that the circumstances are not strictly military in nature.
President and COMMANDER IN CHIEF Donald Trump
“Article II Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the COMMANDER IN CHIEFf clause, states that “[t]he President shall be COMMANDER IN CHIEF of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.” https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/commander_in_chief_powers
Be that as it may, General No, Kwan Chol initiated the salute to Donald Trump and since it was rendered inside a structure it can only be considered as a courteous gesture, which is basically all that it is even outside. It’s a form of greeting between two or more military personnel of different ranks, but usually only when passing right next to each other and especially if the personnel intend to stop and have a conversation. The lower ranking member(s) always render(s) the initial salute and the higher ranking person(s) then return(s) the salute. The lower ranking member(s) may not drop their salute until it is returned by the higher ranking person(s). On a side note; the first (and last time) that I forgot this saluting protocol in basic training, I did my first ever 100 pushups.
In my humble opinion, and from my military service experience, I would view this exchange as President Trump offering a hand shake from his civilian side, but General No instead bowed his head (Korean custom) and offered a higher respect than a hand shake by saluting first, but did not wait for Mr. Trump to return the salute, probably because it was given only in greeting. I saw this a lot when I was in the 8th US Army since I was attached to the Green Berets who were there to provide American-made special forces training to the South Korean Black Berets and we would visit their bases frequently interacting with them on many levels.
President Trump politely returned General No’s salute and then they shook hands. After all, General No knows that Trump is the Commander in Chief (as granted by Congress) in the USofA and I guess he didn’t want to upset anyone by NOT saluting him.
If North Korea media didn’t then use this saluting photo-op to their propagandist advantage, I would be very surprised indeed.
All the best…
Human kind cannot bear very much reality. ~ T.S. Eliot ~
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