Trump: Relationship with North Korea 'has very much calmed down'

Trump: Relationship with North Korea 'has very much calmed down'
© Anna Moneymaker

President TrumpDonald John TrumpProsecutors investigating Trump inaugural fund, pro-Trump super PAC for possible illegal foreign donations: NY Times George Conway: Why take Trump's word over prosecutors' if he 'lies about virtually everything' Federal judge says lawsuit over Trump travel ban waivers will proceed MORE on Wednesday touted fresh progress in the push to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

"Remember this, prior to my coming into office a lot of people thought we were going - it was inevitable - we were going to war in North Korea," Trump told reporters before departing for North Carolina.

"And now the relationship, I have to tell you at least on a personal basis they’re very good," he added. "It’s very much calmed down."

But Trump did not address what steps the U.S. might take to ensure North Korea follows through on its pledge to dismantle its nuclear arsenal.

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Trump added that he received a letter from Kim three days ago, but did not discuss the contents. 

The president responded with optimism after South Korean President Moon Jae-in told reporters that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had agreed to dismantle a missile test site and launch pad in the presence of international observers.

The South Korean president also said following a meeting with Kim that the North had agreed to dismantle a nuclear complex on the condition that the United States takes corresponding steps.

But it's unclear what actions the U.S. would have to take.

"Well, we’ll see what he’s looking at," Trump said when asked about possible reciprocal action. "But in the meantime we’re talking. It’s very calm. He’s calm, I’m calm, so we’ll see what happens.”

The meeting between Moon and Kim this week in Pyongyang marked progress on potential denuclearization following months of stagnation.

Trump, who frequently derided Kim as "Rocket Man" throughout 2017, declared following a meeting with the North Korean leader in June that North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat.

However, U.S. officials had expressed frustration in recent weeks over Kim's lack of concrete steps taken to abandon its nuclear program.

Trump declared following a meeting in June with Kim that North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat, but U.S. officials expressed frustration in recent weeks over Kim's lack of concrete steps taken to abandon its nuclear program.

The president has also pointed to the release of American prisoners and the return of U.S. soldier remains as signs of progress between the two sides.