Trump Tweets Glowing Post-Summit Letter From Kim Jong Un…Which Doesn’t Mention Denuclearization

So Donald Trump had some contentious dealings with allies during the NATO summit this week in Brussels. But as far as his relationship with North Korea is concerned, it looks like the president believes things are going along just peachy.

Trump, on Thursday afternoon, tweeted out a letter he received from Kim Jong Un, along with a translated version. The note appears to have been sent on July 5 — based on a line within which states 24 days have passed since the summit in Singapore. Let’s have a look, shall we?

Kim refers to Trump as “your excellency” five times, praises the “improvement of relations” between the U.S. and North Korea, and expresses hope for a new future. It does not, however, give any mention to the end of North Korea’s nuclear program, nor the end of the country’s regular human rights abuses.

Ever since Trump’s summit with Kim in Singapore, critics have slammed the president for not doing more to challenge Kim, elevating a dictator on the global stage, and touting a pact the two leaders signed which doesn’t provide any solid agreement for a denuclearization plan. Recent evidence actually suggests that the rogue nation continues to build up their nuclear infrastructure.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently travelled to Pyongyang to move things forward, though the North Koreans said the talks were “regrettable” afterwards, and U.S. officials were snubbed today when they were supposed to meet with Kim’s representatives on the DMZ.

Trump Tweets Glowing Post-Summit Letter From Kim Jong Un…Which Doesn’t Mention Denuclearization

Citing ‘our handshake,’ Trump says he remains confident in Kim Jong Un’s pledge to denuclearize North Korea

President Trump on Monday expressed confidence that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would make good on pledges to denuclearize, despite contentious rhetoric coming out of the country after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit over the weekend.

In a tweet, Trump cited an agreement that he and Kim signed during last month’s summit in Singapore and said “our handshake” was even more important to his assessment of Kim’s commitment.

“I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake,” Trump wrote. “We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea.”

As Pompeo left the North Korean capital Saturday, he told reporters that the trip had been “productive” and that progress had been made on a number of issues that required follow-up after the June 12 meeting between Trump and Kim.

However, the North Korean Foreign Ministry later released a lengthy statement that criticized the U.S. focus on nuclear weapons. “The U.S. side came up only with its unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization,” the North Korean statement said.

On Sunday, Pompeo sharply disputed that, saying the regime’s criticism of U.S. negotiators during his two-day visit to Pyongyang was unfounded.

“If those requests were gangster-like, the world is a gangster,” said Pompeo, noting that U.S. demands for North Korea to denuclearize were supported by a consensus among U.N. Security Council members.

Speaking to reporters in Tokyo, Pompeo insisted that Pyongyang did not have an issue with the idea of complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization despite the North Korean Foreign Ministry singling out the phrase in its statement.

In his Monday tweet, Trump also raised concerns about China’s commitment to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, suggesting it could have waned because of a trade war that has broken out between the United States and China.

“China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!” Trump wrote.

Trump has drawn criticism from Democrats and even some Republicans for declaring victory in the wake of a summit that produced only a brief declaration with a striking lack of detail about the path forward.

In tweets that began as he returned to the United States, Trump declared America’s “biggest and most dangerous problem” all but resolved. And he said the deal he struck with Kim meant there was “no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,” and that “everybody can now feel much safer.”

Analysts have cautioned of a difficult road ahead given decades of hostility, unkept promises, and the widespread belief, shared by U.S. intelligence agencies, that North Korea would never give up the nuclear weapons it sought for so long.

[The Washington Post]

Trump on Whether We Believe Kim Jong Un: ‘I Shook Hands With Him, I Really Believe He Means It’

During his big Fox News interview with Maria Bartiromo, President Donald Trump talked again about his relationship with Kim Jong Un.

Bartiromo asked him about the historic summit with Kim in Singapore just weeks ago, saying North Korea should be telling the U.S. “exactly where their facilities are” soon to see how serious Kim is.

“I think they’re very serious about it,” the President responded. “We had a very good chemistry.”

He again talked about ending the “unbelievably expensive” “war games” and insisted, “We gave nothing.”

Trump said he god along very well with Kim before having this exchange with Bartiromo:

BARTIROMO: But do we believe him, Mr. President?

 

TRUMP: I made a deal with him, I shook hands with him. I really believe he means it. Now, is it possible––have I been in deals, have you been in things where people didn’t work out? It’s possible.

[Mediaite]

Trump Lied About Parents Of Korean War Vets, Now He’s Lying About Returned Bodies

Having already invented “thousands” of parents who begged him to bring home the bodies of their Korean War veteran children, President Donald Trump is now inventing hundreds of such repatriations that haven’t actually happened.

The return of the remains of American service members who were killed in that war has become a major “victory” Trump likes to claim from his June 12 meeting in Singapore with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

“It was the last thing I asked,” he told a gathering of Nevada Republicans on Saturday. “I said, ‘Do you mind, would I be able to get the remains back of all those great heroes from so many years ago?’ And he said, ‘I will do that.’ And you probably read, they have already done 200 people. Which is so great.”

On Monday, Trump told a rally audience in South Carolina: “We’re getting the remains of our great heroes back.”

The only problem: No remains have yet been returned, and it is unclear when that might happen. “We have not yet physically received them,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, but said that he is “optimistic” it would take place “in the not-too-distant future.”

That explanation was not sufficient for Iraq War veteran Will Fischer, with the progressive veterans group VoteVets.

“It’s beyond the pale to lie about remains of fallen service persons already being returned, when they, in fact, haven’t been,” Fischer said. “Remains like these aren’t some prize, where you can make up some big fish stories. These are troops who died in war, and whose families have had no closure. He disrespected Gold Star families during the campaign, and he’s doing it now.”

[Huffington Post]

Trump Suggests Negative Media Coverage of The North Korea Summit is ‘Almost Treasonous’

In an exclusive interview set to air Saturday night on TBN, former Arkansas governor and 2016 presidential candidate Mike Huckabeesat down with President Donald Trump.

In what will likely be a wide-ranging interview, part of the conversation was focused on Trump’s recent summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, which Trump insists was widely successful.

However, CNN supervising producer Steve Brusk flagged this portion of their exchange.

After telling Huckabee he and the North Korean dictator came to a “wonderful agreement,” Trump took the opportunity to blast “fake news.”

“It’s a shame that the fake news covers it the way they do,” Trump told Huckabee. “Honestly, it’s really, it’s almost treasonous you want to know the truth.”

This marks Trump’s fourth sit-down since the June 12 summit in Singapore. The president had previously spoken with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Fox News’ Sean Hannity, and Special Reportanchor Bret Baier.

[Mediaite]

Media

Trump: North Korea ‘total denuclearization’ started; officials see no new moves

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday North Korea was blowing up four of its big test sites and that a process of “total denuclearization … has already started,” but officials said there was no such evidence since a landmark summit last week.

Trump said at a Cabinet meeting in the White House that “They’ve stopped the sending of missiles, including ballistic missiles. They’re destroying their engine site. They’re blowing it up. They’ve already blown up one of their big test sites, in fact it’s actually four of their big test sites.

“And the big thing is it will be a total denuclearization, which has already started taking place.”

It was not immediately clear which North Korean test sites Trump was referring to and U.S. officials familiar with current intelligence on North Korea’s nuclear and missile test sites said there was no evidence of new moves to dismantle any sites since Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, speculated Trump might have been referring to explosions last month that North Korea said were to destroy tunnels at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site and the dismantling of a medium-range ballistic missile test stand at Iha-ri, also in May.

There had been contact with North Korean officials since the summit, the U.S. State Department said.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “will be meeting with them and talking with them at the earliest possible date” to implement what was agreed in Singapore, spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters, without providing further details.

Asked on Wednesday if North Korea had done anything toward denuclearization since the summit, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters: “No, I’m not aware of that … obviously, it’s the very front end of a process. The detailed negotiations have not begun. I wouldn’t expect that at this point.”

Mattis sat next to Trump at Thursday’s Cabinet meeting.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s latest remarks. There also was no immediate response from the White House.

The U.S.-based North Korea monitoring group 38 North said in an analysis at the end of last week there had been no sign of any activity toward dismantling of any missile test site.

Trump, who has been leading an international drive to press North Korea to abandon development of nuclear missiles capable of reaching the United States, told reporters after the June 12 summit that Kim had pledged to dismantle one of his missile installations.

A U.S. official said on Wednesday that the site Trump referred to then was the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground, a major facility in the western part of the country that has been used for testing engines for long-range missiles.

[Reuters]

Trump demands credit for getting along with Kim Jong Un

President Donald Trump continued to defend his budding relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Monday, demanding credit for his role in making “initial steps toward a deal” by establishing a personal rapport with the young dictator during last week’s summit in Singapore.

“If President Obama (who got nowhere with North Korea and would have had to go to war with many millions of people being killed) had gotten along with North Korea and made the initial steps toward a deal that I have, the Fake News would have named him a national hero!” Trump tweeted.

Amid lingering skepticism over North Korea’s commitment to complete denuclearization in the wake of the Singapore summit, Trump has aggressively pushed the idea that Kim is sincere in his intentions and that the two leaders were able to develop a unique chemistry.

It’s a conviction South Korean officials share. South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-Nam said Monday in Washington that any diplomatic progress should be credited to the connection that Trump and Kim established through an “unprecedented top-down approach” to negotiations.

“The actors for this top-level diplomacy are completely different leaders as compared to the past,” Lim told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Moreover, the personal chemistry between them has been unique as well.”

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, asked about Trump’s praise for Kim, suggested the President is as willing to use carrots as he would be — if necessary — to use sticks. “If you try to play Trump or back out, there’s going to be a war and nobody wants war,” Graham told CNN.

Trump’s claims to a cozy relationship may reflect an effort to butter-up Kim “to make it easier to get a better deal,” Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio told CNN last week.

Indeed, the administration hopes that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo can build on that rapport to create substantial movement toward denuclearization.

But sources have told CNN that there is nothing to suggest that North Korea has begun destroying its missile launch sites, despite Trump’s repeated claims to the contrary and his declaration last week that the country is no longer a nuclear threat.

Harry Harris, Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to South Korea, said last week that North Korea continues to be a nuclear threat and that major military exercises should be paused to give Kim a chance to prove whether he is “serious.”

Trump announced in Singapore that the US would suspend “war games” with South Korea and Japan, taking Seoul, Tokyo, lawmakers and parts of the US military by surprise.

Additionally, several US defense officials said that, so far, there is no indication that Kim has made good on his promise to return the remains of prisoners of war and soldiers declared missing in action during the Korean War — something Trump has repeatedly said the two leaders agreed upon during their meeting.

These officials also cautioned that a lengthy DNA verification process would be needed when and if any remains are returned to the US.

In South Korea, however, the prism is different. Discussions center less on Trump’s achievements or lack of them, or his failures to live up to his own word, and more on the possibilities his summit opened up — in particular his new relationship with Kim.

While critics continue to suggest that Trump failed to secure concrete concessions from North Korea — including guarantees related to verifiable irreversible denuclearization and ending human rights abuses — South Korean officials have publicly credited the US President for facilitating the signing of the Panmunjom declaration and the Singapore statement, despite questions over specific terms.

“President Trump has made an unprecedented strategic decision to meet face-to-face with the leader of the DPRK,” Vice Foreign Minister Lim said, noting that Trump accounted for cultural considerations in dealing with Kim by showing him “due respect” and treating “him as a leader of a state.”

[CNN]

Trump says he wants “my people” to sit at attention for him like people do for Kim Jong Un

President Trump declared in a spur-of-the-moment interview with “Fox and Friends” Friday morning that he wants people to sit at attention for him like they do for North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Kim stands accused of leading a murderous regime that starves its own people. But Mr. Trump has heaped praise on Kim since meeting with him in Singapore, saying repeatedly that the two have “good chemistry.”

“Hey, he is the head of a country and I mean he is the strong head,” Mr. Trump told Fox News’ Steve Doocy on the White House lawn Friday. “Don’t let anyone think anything different. He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

Pressed by a reporter about those remarks moments later, Mr. Trump said he was “kidding.”

“I’m kidding, you don’t understand sarcasm,” the president said.

The spur-of-the-moment White House lawn interview was, in the memory of those present, unprecedented.

Mr. Trump was later asked how he can mourn the death of American Otto Warmbier, who was held hostage in North Korea, while defending Kim’s disastrous human rights record.

“I don’t want to see a nuclear weapon destroy you and your family,” Mr. Trump said. “I want to have a good relationship with North Korea. I want to have a good relationship with many countries.”

Those comments come after a different Fox News interview earlier this week, when the president also downplayed Kim’s human rights record.

“You know you call people sometimes killers, he is a killer. He’s clearly executing people,” Fox News’ Bret Baier told Mr. Trump.

“He’s a tough guy,” the president responded.

“Hey, when you take over a country, tough country, with tough people, and you take it over from your father, I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have,” the president continued. “If you can do that at 27 years old, I mean that’s one in 10,000 that could do that. So he’s a very smart guy, he’s a great negotiator. But I think we understand each other.”

[CBS News]

Media

Trump Dodges When Confronted on Kim’s Brutality: ‘A Lot of Other People’ Have Done Bad Things Too

President Donald Trump sat down with Fox News’ Bret Baier for a one-on-one interview aboard Air Force One.

During the interview, the president praised “President for Life” Xi Jinping and pointed out North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump also said he and the North Korean despot “understand each other.”

POTUS’s praise of Kim prompted Baier to ask why he would say such nice things about a “killer.”

“You were asked in the press conference a number of different times and in different ways about human rights and that you that call this relationship ‘really good’ and that he was ‘very talented person.’” Baier said.

Baier then continued on, “You call people sometimes killers. He is a killer. He’s executing people.”

Trump dodged trying to say North Korea was a “tough country” with “tough people.”

“You take it over from your father––I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have. If you can do that at 27 years old, that’s one in 10,000 that could do that,” Trump claimed, continuing to praise Kim. “So he’s a very smart guy. He’s a great negotiator, but I think we understand each other.”

Baier then pressed further, adding, “He has still done some really bad things.”

“Yeah, but so have a lot of other people done some really bad things,” Trump said, dodging again. “I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done.”

It is also not the first time Trump has dodged questions from Fox News about cozying up to a killer. In February 2017, Trump sat down for a pre-Super Bowl interview with Bill O’Reillywhere he was asked about how he could be so friendly with Russian President Vladimir Putindespite the fact that he, too, has blood on his hands.

Trump dodged back then too, telling O’Reilly: “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent?”

[Mediaite]

Trump: I Won’t Admit It if the Kim Summit Turns Out to Be a Mistake, ‘I’ll Find Some Kind of an Excuse’

In what might’ve been an unusually frank moment with reporters, President Donald Trump said today that he’ll never admit it if it turns out his meeting with Kim Jong Un was a bad idea.

After Trump concluded his private meetings with Kim, he held a press conference in which he heaped praise on the “very talented” North Korean dictator. Trump also touted the document he and Kim signed regarding the future of their respective countries, even though the agreement doesn’t outline any specific framework for North Korea’s eventual denuclearization.

As Trump talked about why he trusts Kim to cooperate and disarm his country, he eventually made a candid admission — volunteering that even if he turns out to be wrong, he won’t say so.

“I may be wrong. I may stand before you in six months and say, ‘Hey, I was wrong.’ I don’t know that I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of an excuse.”

[Mediaite]

Media

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