Tuesday, January 23, 2018 | ePaper

Trump says ‘probably’ has very good relationship with Kim

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Donald Trump suggested his combative tweets are part of a broader strategy.

Reuters, Washington :
US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he "probably" has a very good relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a change in tone for Trump after exchanging insults with Kim over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.
Trump has derided the North Korean leader as a "maniac" and referred to him as "little rocket man." Kim has responded by calling the US president a "mentally deranged US dotard."
"I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un," Trump said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "I have relationships with people. I think you people are surprised."
Kim has warned the United States that he intends to build a nuclear arsenal capable of hitting the United States, prompting threats of military action by Washington. Asked whether he has spoken with the North Korean leader, Trump told the newspaper: "I don't want to comment on it. I'm not saying I have or haven't. I just don't want to comment."
In November, Trump said while on a trip to Vietnam that becoming friends with Kim "might be a strange thing to happen but it's a possibility."
Kim, in a speech last week, said the "nuclear button is always on my desk," prompting Trump to respond in a tweet that his nuclear button is "a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!" In the Journal interview, Trump suggested his combative tweets are part of a broader strategy.
"You'll see that a lot with me," he said, "and then all of the sudden somebody's my best friend. I could give you 20 examples. You could give me 30. I'm a very flexible person." Trump told the newspaper a decision by the United States and South Korea to postpone military exercises until after next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea "sends a good message to North Korea."
North and South Korea held their first talks in two years on Tuesday. Trump told a news conference in Washington on Wednesday the United States would be willing to speak to Pyongyang "under the right circumstances."
Another report adds: President Donald Trump suggested in an interview Thursday that he has developed a positive relationship with the North Korean leader, but declined to say whether they have spoken.
No sitting U.S. president is known to have spoken with a North Korean leader. The two nations have remained in a state of war and without diplomatic relations since the Korean War ended in 1953 without a peace treaty.
"I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un," Trump told The Wall Street Journal. "I have relationships with people. I think you people are surprised." Asked if he had spoken with Kim, Trump was evasive: "I'm not saying I have or haven't. I just don't want to comment."
The president's remarks come after North and South Korea this week held their first talks in two years, and the North agreed to participate in the Winter Olympics in the South next month.
Trump claimed credit Wednesday for the inter-Korean dialogue, saying North Korea was feeling the pressure of a U.S.-led campaign of sanctions over its nuclear weapons and missile development. He said the U.S. was open to talks with North Korea under the right circumstances.
Trump and Kim have traded bellicose rhetoric and crude insults over the last year, as North Korea has accelerated weapons tests and appears on the cusp of having a nuclear-tipped missile that could strike the U.S. mainland.
Trump has called Kim "Rocket Man" on a "suicide mission." Kim called the 71-year-old American president "the mentally deranged U.S. dotard." In his New Year's address last week, Kim said he has a "nuclear button" that could fire weapons anywhere in the United States, and Trump responded that he has a much bigger and more powerful "nuclear button."

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