Despite a comment from National Security Advisor John Bolton criticizing North Korea for recent missile tests, President Donald Trump on Monday kept his focus on diplomacy as he downplayed Bolton’s concerns.
Trump, in Japan for a series of meetings with Japanese officials, also tweaked Democratic presidential contender and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Bolton had said Saturday that in his mind there was “no doubt” North Korea violated United Nations Security Council resolutions when it conducted short-range missile tests earlier this month.
However, Trump downplayed the importance of tests, citing his relationship with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?” Trump tweeted.
North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2019
“I personally think that lots of good things will come with North Korea. I feel that. I may be right, I may be wrong, but I feel that,” Trump said, according to Fox News.
Trump expanded on his thoughts during a meeting with reporters in Japan, according to a White House media pool report.
“Well, first of all, let me say that I think that Kim Jong Un, or Chairman Kim, as some people say, is looking to create a nation that has great strength economically. I think he’s very much — I talk to him a lot about it, and he’s very much into the fact that — he believes, like I do, that North Korea has tremendous economic potential like perhaps few other developing nations anywhere in the world.
“And I think that he is looking to develop that way. He knows that, with nuclear, that’s never going to happen. Only bad can happen. He understands that. He is a very smart man. He gets it well,” Trump said.
Trump said he can afford to be patient.
“I’m in no rush at all. The sanctions remain. We have our hostages back. We, as you know, are getting the remains — continuing to get the remains. A lot of good things are happening,” he said.
Trump said concerns about the missile test should be put in context.
“(V)ery importantly, there’s been no nuclear testing for two years. I looked at a chart the other day. During the past administration, there were many numbers that were very high, like 10 and 12 and 18, having to do with missile launches and nuclear testing. And for the last two years, on the bottom, it had zero and zero. So, I am very happy with the way it’s going. And intelligent people agree with me,” he said.
A reporter than quizzed Trump whether he was “bothered at all by the small missiles?”
“No, I’m not. I am personally not,” Trump said.
Trump was later asked, “does it give you pause at all to be appearing to side with a brutal dictator instead of with a fellow American — the former Vice President Joe Biden?”
Trump replied that it did not.
“Well, Kim Jong Un made a statement that Joe Biden is a low-IQ individual. He probably is, based on his record. I think I agree with him on that. But, at the same time, my people think it could have been a violation, as you know. I view it differently. I view it as a man — perhaps he wants to get attention, and perhaps not. Who knows? It doesn’t matter,” Trump said, before noting that “there have been no nuclear tests.”
Trump was asked again about the appearance of supporting Kim over Biden.
“Well, when I look at what’s been done by our (former) vice president and the president, when I look at the horrible Iran deal that they made — look what happened since I terminated the Iran deal. Look what has happened to Iran,” Trump said, sketching Iran’s support for terrorism.
Speaking further of Iran, Trump said, “We’re not looking for regime change. I just want to make that clear. We’re looking for no nuclear weapons. If you look at the deal that Biden and President Obama signed, they would have access — free access — to nuclear weapons, where they wouldn’t even be in violation, in just a very short period of time. What kind of a deal is that?”
Trump then returned to the subject of Biden.
“So I don’t take sides as to who I’m in favor or who I’m not, but I can tell you that Joe Biden was a disaster. His administration, with President Obama, they were basically a disaster when it came to so many things, whether it was economy, whether it was military, defense.
“No matter what it was, they had a lot problems. So, I’m not a fan,” Trump said.
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