U.S. President Donald Trump singled out his relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as one of his important diplomatic feats during the past three years since his inauguration, as he has sent a string of overtures to the North by citing “friendly relationship” with Pyongyang.
“I think the best thing that’s happened to this country is the fact that, at least for three years — the fact that I have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un,” President Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday ahead of his summit with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. “I think that’s a positive,” he added, saying, “His country has tremendous potential. He knows that.”
President Trump made the remarks when he replied “I’ll meet with anybody. I think meetings are good” after being asked by a reporter about the collapse of peace talks with Taliban leaders in Afghanistan. “It is okay even if talks do not go well. The worst that happens, it doesn’t work out. Even in such a situation, we get to know the opposition. Please remember that even if talks collapse, the worst that could happen is you get to know your opposition.”
While mentioning North Korea, Trump criticized former U.S. administrations, saying that “Our country has been playing around for 50 years and getting nothing.” By emphasizing that he has changed the situation through dialogue with Pyongyang, he effectively bragged about it as his diplomatic achievement. On the outlook of Washington’s talks with Pyongyang, he was rather careful however, saying “We’ll see what happens. It might work out, it might not work out. I’m not saying it will. But in the meantime, it hasn’t been testing nuclear.”
When asked by a reporter about comment by Kim Myong Gil, the North Korean foreign ministry’s special envoy to U.S.-North Korea working-level talks, the U.S. State Department reiterated its earlier stance, saying that “We are ready to meet if and when time and venue are set.” A diplomatic source in Seoul said, “Choi Sun Hee, first vice minister of the North’s foreign ministry, and Ambassador Kim Myong Gil have reacted in succession, which are positive moves that are worth paying attention,” adding, “Since the North mentioned late September first, we think that Washington and Pyongyang will likely meet as early as in early October.”