Making the Deal with North Korea

 

President Donald Trump on Tuesday called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “very honorable” and said he thinks a meeting with the dictator will happen “as soon as possible.”

“He really has been very open and, I think, very honorable from everything we’re seeing,” Trump told a group of reporters during a brief question-and-answer period at the White House with French President Emmanuel Macron. “A lot of promises have been made by North Korea over the years, but they’ve never been in this position. We have been very, very tough on maximum pressure, we’ve been very tough on trade.…”

Trump added that he would be forceful during the planned meeting with North Korea, which is supposed to happen in late May or early June, and would be prepared to walk away.

“I will leave the table,” he said. “But I think we have the chance to do something very special.”

In a break from previous administrations, Trump is attempting to negotiate with the dictator and convince him to end his fledgling nuclear program. Both Trump and the North Korean leader have traded barbs in the past, with Trump calling Kim a “Little Rocket Man” and a “sick puppy.” In turn, Kim reportedly called Trump “mentally deranged” and a “dotard.”

“Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!” Trump tweeted in September, referring to numerous reports of abuses inflicted on the North Korean people by the government.

Trump has previously said that no sanctions will be lifted until “concrete actions” have been made in the path to denuclearization. Kim has pledged to suspend nuclear and missile tests ahead of the meeting.

Despite the apparent signs of progress, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday cautioned that there’s still a “long way to go” in negotiating with Kim.

“Look, we’re not naïve in this process,” she said at the White House press briefing. “We’ve seen some steps in the right direction but we have a long way to go.”

GettyImages-837567644 President Donald Trump, pictured here at a 2017 “MAGA” rally in Phoenix, has tempered his remarks about Kim Jong Un ahead of nuclear talks with the North Korean leader. Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

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