President Trump on Thursday touted U.S. progress on resolving the crisis in the Korean Peninsula while slamming the Obama administration -- particularly former Secretary of State John Kerry -- for allowing the situation with North Korea to escalate.
Trump, in an interview with “Fox & Friends” Thursday, said he was willing to walk out of his upcoming planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, or cancel it entirely, if it proved to be unproductive.
“I’m not like [President Barack] Obama where you go in with Kerry, who’s the worst negotiator I’ve ever seen,” Trump said on “Fox & Friends” Thursday. “He goes in with the Iran deal, he never leaves, he should have left. He could have made a much better deal. Well it could be that I walk out quickly with respect, but it could be that that meeting doesn’t even take place.”
Trump also rejected media commentary that suggested he is making concessions in order to secure the meeting with the North Korean dictator.
“I haven’t given up much, they’ve given up denuclearization, testing, research, we’re going to close different (North Korean) sites,” he said. “All of these things he’s given up and we haven’t even really that much asked him, because we would have asked him, but they gave it up before we even asked.”
But he repeated one of his regular complaints about the North Korean situation, namely that the Obama administration left him with an escalating situation that he claims could have been much more easily solved in prior administrations.
“We had weak people, this should have been settled long before I came into office,” he said. “This is a much different ball game than if they did it five or ten or twenty years ago. This is a much more dangerous ball game now.”
He hailed U.S. efforts to get the situation in order: “I will tell you it’s going very well.”
Kim is due to meet Friday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the border between the two countries about a possible treaty to formally end the Korean War. In addition to agreeing to meet with Trump, Kim has announced an end to nuclear testing.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Trump’s pick to be secretary of state, traveled to North Korea this month to lay the foundation for the meeting between Trump and Kim. Pompeo met with Kim, a meeting Trump said was unplanned but produced “incredible” photographs.