Trump: Kim Jong Un 'very open' and 'very honorable'
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump today said North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has been "very open" and "very honorable," and wants an historic, high-stakes meeting as soon as possible.
This is a sharp break from the American president's previous denunciations of Kim Jong Un as "Little Rocket Man."
The United States and North Korea have been negotiating a summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un to be held in May or June to broker a deal on Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.
Trump, who has struck a decidedly optimistic tone on the situation in recent days, today said the United States and North Korea were having "good discussions."
"We have been told directly that they would like to have the meeting as soon as possible. We think that's a great thing for the world," Trump said at the White House alongside French President Emmanuel Macron. "Kim Jong Un, he really has been very open and I think very honorable from everything we're seeing."
Trump cautioned that North Korea had not followed through on previous promises, but credited tough steps from his administration – including sanctions and organizing pressure from international allies – for having forced Pyongyang to hold talks. And he again suggested he would "leave the table" if they negotiations were not productive or if North Korea was not operating in good faith.
"We'll see where that all goes," the president said. "Maybe it will be wonderful or maybe it won't."
Trump's comments came days after a flurry of signs from North Korea that the White House was anxious to promote as signs that its coercion campaign was working. On Saturday, North Korea announced it will close its nuclear testing facility and suspend nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests – a move welcomed by Trump as "big progress."