North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is beginning to “respect” the U.S., President Donald Trump said on Tuesday.
Speaking to supporters at a campaign-style rally in Phoenix, Arizona, the President sought to juxtapose his administration’s tougher approach with his predecessors.
“You see what’s going on in North Korea? Who knows?” Trump said. “Kim Jong Un, I respect the fact that, I believe, he is starting to respect us.”
Echoing comments made by his Secretary of State earlier in the day, in which Rex Tillerson said that North Korea had exercised restraint by not testing missiles in August, the President suggested that there was potential for dialogue with Pyongyang.
“Maybe, probably not, something positive can come about,” he said. “They [the media] won’t tell you about that.”
North Korean state media on Tuesday, meanwhile, directly attacked the President, with an editorial by ruling party organ the Rodong Sinmun accusing Trump of saying “a load of rubbish” when it came to North Korea.
“…that mad guy Trump’s unrestrained war-inciting tongue-lashing might turn the U.S. mainland into huge heaps of ashes,” the editorial read, accusing the “Trump cult” of being “unimaginably reckless.”
The President also defended previous comments claiming that the DPRK would face “fire and fury” if it continued threats against the U.S.
“Some people said it was too strong,” he said. “It’s not strong enough.”
Trump’s “fire and fury” comments on August 8 led to global concern and came amid heightened tension on the Korean peninsula.
Just hours after the President’s statement, North Korea’s military announced it was examining a plan for an attack on the U.S. territory of Guam to be carried out if Washington launched a preemptive strike.
The President later in the week doubled down on his rhetoric, saying that the U.S. was “locked and loaded” and ready for a military confrontation with the North.
Last Monday, however, saw Kim Jong Un decide to postpone the attack on Guam, with DPRK state media reporting the next day that the leader had chosen to “watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees,” before launching the plan – a decision Trump later described as “wise.”
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