U.S. President Donald J. Trump praised Kim Jong-Un as “very open” and “very honorable” on Tuesday, adding the North Korean leader wants to meet “as soon as possible.”
“We are having very good discussions,” Trump said, ahead of a summit with the mercurial Kim expected sometime before the end of June. “He really has been very open, I think — very honorable.”
“Now, a lot of promises have been made by North Korea over the years, but they have never been in this position,” added the U.S. leader, as he hosted his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron at the White House.
“We have been told directly that they would like to have the meeting as soon as possible,” Trump said, adding: “We think that’s a great thing for the world. We’ll see where that will all go.”
Trump also reiterated that he would walk away from the talks with North Korea if they are not fruitful. “Unlike past administrations, I will leave the table,” he said. “But I think we have the chance to do something very special.”
North Korea pledged last week to halt nuclear and missile tests as it prepares for a summit between Kim and Trump, but has not committed to giving up its atomic weapons — which Pyongyang views as a shield against the Western overthrow of its government.
Trump’s view of the North Korean leader has changed dramatically since September, when he threatened to “totally destroy North Korea,” if Washington was forced to defend itself or its allies. In addition, he called Kim “Rocket Man” at the time.
In his response to the remarks, Kim vowed to “tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.” Trump reacted quite promptly, calling his counterpart “a madman” and promising that he “will be tested like never before.”
Ahead of the Summit between the leaders of North and South Korea this week, we ask if change is really around the corner. Find out why we think human rights change is possible in #NorthKorea
— AmnestyInternational (@amnesty) April 24, 2018