U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden clashed on the U.S. policy toward North Korea during the last presidential debate broadcasted on Thursday (local time). The two fiercely discussed policies on six topics, including diplomacy and security, health insurance, and immigration, in a relatively calm manner without interfering or sharing harsh words as they did in the first debate.
The debate, which was moderated by NBC’s anchor Kristen Welker and held in Nashville, Tennessee, showcased clear differences between the two candidates’ North Korea policy.
To the question asking whether he thought North Korea’s revealing of an intercontinental ballistic missile, which is the biggest so far, and continued development of nuclear weapons is a betrayal of his relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, President Trump said that there could have been a nuclear war but there’s no war and that they have a very good relationship.
“North Korea was a mess. And in fact, if you remember the first two or three months, there was a very dangerous period of my first three months before we sort of worked things out a little bit,” Trump added. While he praised his work to prevent war with the North, President Trump misspoke the populations of Seoul as 32 million.
Meanwhile, former Vice President Biden called Kim a “thug” three times and criticized President Trump, saying, “He’s legitimized North Korea, he’s talked about his good buddy, who’s a thug, a thug.” Biden said that he will meet with the North Korean leader only when Kim agrees to reduce the nuclear capabilities of the North, emphasizing, “The Korean Peninsula should be a nuclear-free zone.” While remaining tough on principles toward North Korea, the Democratic candidate seems to keep the possibility of a U.S.-North Korea summit open depending on the denuclearization measures to be taken by the North.
President Trump argues that the Obama administration pursued a meeting with Kim but was rejected. “He didn't like Obama. He wouldn't do it,” the president said, presenting himself as the only leader who can meet with Kim. “We had a good relationship with Hitler before he, in fact, invaded the rest of Europe,” said Biden, dismissing the president’s comment.
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