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
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer employees critique EPA under Trump in new report Fired State Department watchdog says Pompeo aide attempted to 'bully' him over investigations Virginia senator calls for Barr to resign over order to clear protests MORE on Friday said his relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnKim Jong Un seeks to continue bolstering North Korea's nuclear capabilities, state media says Overnight Defense: State Dept. watchdog was investigating emergency Saudi arms sales before ouster | Pompeo says he requested watchdog be fired for 'undermining' department | Pensacola naval base shooter had 'significant ties' to al Qaeda, Barr says Trump says investigation into Pompeo shows 'screwed up' priorities 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.

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“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 PompeoFired State Department watchdog says Pompeo aide attempted to 'bully' him over investigations Ousted watchdog says he told top State aides about Pompeo probe 7 GOP senators slam State Dept for 'slow and inefficient policy' on passports 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.