NATIONAL

Trump says US and NK have ‘respect,’ downplays concerns

By Choi He-suk
  • Published : May 27, 2019 - 16:08
  • Updated : May 27, 2019 - 16:08

US President Donald Trump on Monday reiterated his view that progress had been made with North Korea, saying the US and the North had built mutual respect.

Speaking ahead of his summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Trump predicted “good things” for North Korean issues. 

US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands ahead of the summit meeting on Monday in Tokyo. Yonhap

“We’ve come a long way, there’s been no rocket testing, there’s been no nuclear testing, there’s been very little activity from that standpoint, we’ve come a long way with North Korea. We will see what happens,” Trump said, saying “lots of good things” could materialize with regard to North Korea.

“There is good respect, maybe great respect built between, certainly between the United States and North Korea but we will see what happens,” Trump reiterated, saying the North had stopped carrying out missile and nuclear tests since he took office.

“But only time will tell and let’s see if something constructive can be done, let’s see if something constructive can come of what we’ve been doing. But if you look back over the last two years, it’s been a big difference. We will see what happens.”

Although US-North Korea talks have stalled since Trump’s second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the end of February, the US has reiterated its ongoing commitment to seeking a diplomatic resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue.

Trump has also downplayed North Korea’s recent projectile launches. Earlier this month, North Korea conducted two live-fire drills involving a number of projectiles. The first drill is thought to have involved a newly developed guided weapon, the second two short-range ballistic missiles. North Korea is banned from using any ballistic weapons.

Seoul has refrained from using the term “ballistic missile” with regard to the projectiles, while Trump has downplayed their significance, saying their short range made them of little concern for US national security.

On Saturday, Trump voiced his views on Twitter about the North Korean weapons tests, also mentioning North Korea’s recent character attacks against Joe Biden.

“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 wrote.

After Biden referred to Kim as a tyrant during a recent campaign rally, North Korea issued vehement criticism of the former US vice president, questioning his intelligence and qualifications as a politician.

Trump’s comments on North Korea and Kim were backed up by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Sunday.

In an interview with NBC, Sanders said Trump was confident that the North Korean leader would “stay firm with the commitment that he made to the president and move towards denuclearization,” adding that denuclearization was Washington’s focus.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)