President Trump heaped praise on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday, calling him “a very worthy, very smart negotiator” and vowing to meet with him “many times.”
Speaking to reporters in Singapore after his landmark summit with Kim, Trump said that he found the North Korean premier to be a “very talented man” who “loves his country very much.”
Asked whether he found Kim to be a worthy negotiator, Trump said: “A worthy negotiator … a very worthy, very smart negotiator. We had a terrific day and we learned a lot about each other and our countries.”
The president’s comments came after the two leaders met face to face earlier Tuesday — an encounter that culminated in the signing of an agreement that committed the U.S.to unspecified “security guarantees” in exchange for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
At the signing ceremony, Trump said that it was an “honor” to meet Kim, and asserted that the two countries had developed a “very special bond.”
“I think our whole relationship with North Korea and the Korean peninsula is going to be a very different situation than it has in the past,” he said. “We’ve developed a very special bond.”
The summit — the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader — was the result of a flurry of diplomatic activity that began in January and picked up in recent weeks as the two countries sought to salvage the prospect for talks after Trump’s decision to cancel the meeting.
Trump’s comments praising Kim, however, were unusual for a U.S. president. American officials have often avoided speaking warmly about North Korean leaders, because of the country’s poor human rights record and ambitious weapons programs.
Asked on Tuesday why he is so comfortable calling Kim “talented,” Trump credited the young leader with running his country at such a young age.
“Well, he is very talented,” Trump said. “Anybody that takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run it and run it tough. I don’t say he was nice.”
“Very few people at that age — you can take one out of ten thousand, probably couldn’t do it.”
Reporter: Why are you so comfortable calling Kim Jong Un “very talented?”
President Trump: “Well, he is very talented. Anybody that takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run it and run it tough. I don’t say he was nice.” https://cbsn.ws/2Mk0LBi