The Korea Times -The White House has said that U.S. President Donald Trump feels “good” about his relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Kim’s denuclearization commitment despite Pyongyang’s recent missile launches.
Presidential press secretary Sarah Sanders made the remarks on Sunday after Trump tweeted that Pyongyang’s launch of two short-range missiles on May 9, the second such military move in less than a week, involved only “small weapons,” and expressed his “confidence” in Kim.
“Look, the president’s focus in all of this process is on continuing the very good relationship that he has with Chairman Kim. And he feels good that the chairman will stay firm with the commitment that he made to the president and move towards denuclearization,” Sanders said in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press.
“That’s our focus. That’s going to continue to be our focus. Some of the activity that’s taken place, as you can see from the president’s Twitter, isn’t something that’s bothering the president,” she added.
Trump’s Twitter post came a day after his national security advisor, John Bolton, said that the North’s launches “no doubt” violated U.N. Security Council resolutions — remarks that contrasted with Trump who has apparently downplayed the tests in a show of desire to keep dialogue with the North alive.
In the interview, Sanders reiterated Trump’s stance that the North’s recent saber-rattling has not posed a threat to the United States or its allies.
“We know that the activities at no point that took place over the last several weeks have been a threat to the United States or our allies. And we’re going to continue pushing forward to the ultimate goal and that’s denuclearization of the peninsula,” she said.
Nuclear negotiations between the U.S. and the North have been stalled since the second summit between Trump and Kim in Hanoi in February due to their failure to bridge gaps on the scope of Pyongyang’s denuclearization and Washington’s sanctions relief.
In recent weeks, the North has been hardening its rhetoric, urging the U.S. to change its hard-line stance. But Washington appears adamant in its position that Pyongyang should take sweeping denuclearization steps first before any significant rewards are given.
In the interview, Sanders also said that Trump and Kim agree in their assessment of former Vice President Joe Biden.
Last week, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency castigated Biden’s criticism of leader Kim Jong-un as a dictator and tyrant, calling the Democratic presidential hopeful as a “fool of low IQ.”
“The president’s not siding with that. But I think they agree in their assessment of former Vice President Joe Biden,” Sanders said. (Yonhap)