There remains room for the U.S. and North Korea to make a deal, President Donald Trump said on Monday, in comments in which he praised his continued good relationship with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un.
Speaking at a cabinet meeting in which he largely focused on the ongoing troop withdrawal from northern Syria and a growing domestic political scandal over U.S. relations with Ukraine, the President also hinted that the U.S. could help with a “major rebuild” in North Korea.
The remarks are some of the President’s first on North Korea since working-level talks between the two countries in Stockholm fell apart just over two weeks ago — talks which Pyongyang later derided as “sickening.”
Reports emerged over the weekend in South Korea’s Hankook Ilbo newspaper that the U.S. had at those talks offered the North Koreans help with the development of the Wonsan-Kalma resort — a marquee construction project set to be completed in April 2020.
Touting the “incredible” trade deals made with other countries on Monday, President Trump then said “something is going to be happening with North Korea too.”
“There’s some very interesting information on North Korea. A lot of things are going on,” the President said on Monday, while remaining ambiguous about what kind of deal precisely could be made. “And that’s going to be a major rebuild at a certain point.”
Trump also earlier in that meeting reiterated his belief that the U.S. would have gone to war with North Korea were it not for his presidency — and his claim to have a good relationship with the North Korean leader.
“I like Kim; he likes me,” he said. “We get along. I respect him; he respects me.”
The U.S. State Department did not respond to NK News‘s requests for further information on what kind of deal, precisely, the President was referring to.
But North Korea has in the wake of the failed Stockholm talks appeared increasingly disinterested in making a deal with the U.S.
A pointed analysis in Monday’s edition of the ruling party daily, the Rodong Sinmun, for example, stressed that nations should be wary of making concessions in the face of pressure from “imperialist” sanctions.
Last week, too, saw Kim Jong Un scale the politically symbolic Mount Paektu on horseback, with state media hinting that a major policy decision could be in the works.
“All the officials accompanying him were convinced with overflowing emotion and joy that there will be a great operation to strike the world with wonder again and make a step forward in the Korean revolution,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.
Edited by Jacob Fromer
Featured image: White House