WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Thursday that North Korea has made concessions to the U.S. in advance of a potential summit with Kim Jong Un in the coming months, while the U.S. hasn’t given up anything.
“I’m saying to myself wait a minute, all of these things he’s given up and we haven’t even really that much asked them,” Trump told “Fox & Friends.” He added: “We would have asked them, but they gave it up before I even asked.”
North Korea recently announced it will close its nuclear test site and suspend nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. Kim has indicated he’s also ready to discuss denuclearization but it remains unclear whether he’d really be willing to give up nuclear weapons his nation already has, and what he’d want in return.
Trump has argued that the only concession he has made to North Korea was his surprise decision last month to accept Kim’s invitation for a meeting — the first ever between the leaders of the United States and North Korea during six decades of hostility. “I never gave up anything,” Trump repeated.
Trump acknowledged the rhetoric that both he and Kim deployed over the last year and the schoolyard taunts of nuclear “buttons” was “very, very nasty” and heightened fears of nuclear war. “This is a much more dangerous ballgame now, but I will tell you it’s going very well.”
He said “the nuclear war would have happened if you have weak people.”
Trump revealed more information about outgoing CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s secret trip to North Korea this month, saying Pompeo wasn’t supposed to meet with Kim, but that they ended up talking for more than an hour. Later Thursday, the White House released photos of Pompeo and Kim shaking hands. Pompeo, who won Senate confirmation Thursday to become secretary of state, was the most senior U.S. official to meet a North Korean leader since 2000.
“They had a great meeting,” Trump said, without revealing what they discussed.
For now, the diplomatic initiative lies in the hands of the rival Koreas.
Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a key U.S. ally, were to meet Friday in the heavily militarized frontier between the Koreas. Moon will be looking to make some headway on the nuclear issue in advance of the Trump-Kim summit.
They’re also expected to discuss ways to both improve relations and settle the 1950-53 Korean War, which was halted with an armistice, not a peace treaty.