Trump calls relationship with North Korea's Kim 'the best thing' for US

Trump calls relationship with North Korea's Kim 'the best thing' for US
© Getty

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders apologizes to Biden for supporter's op-ed Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Trump' if the US doesn't elect progressive Democrats: McConnell impeachment trial rules a 'cover up,' 'national disgrace' MORE on Friday said his relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnNorth Korea replaces its foreign minister: report Brent Budowsky: The patriotic duty of Senate Republicans US ambassador: 'I was personally surprised' North Korea did not send 'Christmas gift' MORE has been “the best thing” to happen to the United States during his tenure.

“I think the best thing that’s happened to this country is the fact that, at least for three years — the fact that I have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office during a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“I think that’s a positive. His country has tremendous potential. He knows that. But our country has been playing around for 50 years and getting nothing. We have a relationship; there’s never been a relationship with them,” Trump said.

Trump acknowledged that his efforts to reach an agreement to scale back Pyongyang’s nuclear program could eventually fail, but took credit for the country’s lack of nuclear testing during his administration.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We’ll see what happens. It might work out, it might not work out. I’m not saying it will. But in the meantime, he hasn’t been testing any nuclear,” Trump said.

The president cited his relationship with Kim as an example of why he believes it important to take meetings with other leaders.

Trump defended his willingness to invite the Taliban to Camp David for peace talks on Afghanistan earlier this month — an ultimately abandoned move that was opposed by several advisers — arguing the worst that could happen is “you get to know your opposition.”

“I’ll meet with anybody. I think meetings are good,” Trump said. “The worst that happens, it doesn’t work out."

The president has made efforts to stem North Korea’s nuclear program a central part of his administration’s work on foreign policy, and his remarks Thursday underscored his view that the push to get North Korea to denuclearize is a top foreign policy issue to tout heading into the 2020 election.

Trump has held two summits with Kim and over the summer became the first sitting U.S. president to cross into the Demilitarized Zone between North Korea and South Korea.

Still, the two sides have thus far failed to reach an agreement that results in the dismantling of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program. And North Korea has recently been testing short-range ballistic missiles, which Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoCountries reach agreement in Berlin on Libya cease-fire push, arms embargo Trump Jr.: If 'weaker' Republicans only call for certain witnesses, 'they don't deserve to be in office' House Democrats may call new impeachment witnesses if Senate doesn't MORE has acknowledged concerned him

Trump downplayed the missile tests on Friday, telling reporters that “every country is doing them.”

“You haven’t had any nuclear tests since — for a long time,” Trump said, turning to the Australian prime minister.

“And [Kim] has been doing some short range missiles, but so does every other country do short-range missiles. Every country is doing them; they are pretty standard fare,” Trump said.