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Biden: Obama wouldn't 'legitimize' North Korea with meeting

Biden: Obama wouldn't 'legitimize' North Korea with meeting
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Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE called out President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE on Thursday for meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong Un6 policy don'ts for Joe Biden South Korea urging Biden to prioritize denuclearization talks with North Lisa Gordon-Hagerty resigns as chief of nuclear weapons agency MORE, saying former President Obama refused to “legitimize” the dictator.

At Thursday night’s second and final debate of the general election, Trump defended his North Korea policy, as he often does, by touting his relationship with Kim.

“They tried to meet with him, he wouldn't do it,” Trump said of Kim and the Obama administration. “He didn't like Obama, he didn't like him, he wouldn't do it. OK? They tried. He wouldn’t do it. You know what? North Korea, we’re not in a war, we have a good relationship.”

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Biden shot back that “we had a good relationship with Hitler before he, in fact, invaded the rest of Europe.”

“Come on,” Biden continued. “The reason he would not meet with President Obama is because President Obama said we're going to talk about denuclearization. We're not going to legitimize you. We're going to continue to push stronger and stronger sanctions on you. That's why he wouldn’t meet with us.”

Trump held two formal summits with Kim, the first time a sitting U.S. president has met with a North Korean leader, and also met with Kim at the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

The first summit ended with a declaration of working toward denuclearization, but the second ended without a concrete denuclearization deal, and efforts to revive diplomacy since then have floundered.

North Korea resumed missile testing as talks died and has continued improving its missile and nuclear arsenals. Earlier this month, it unveiled a massive new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at a military parade.

Pyongyang has not tested an ICBM since talks with the United States started, nor has it conducted a nuclear test — facts the Trump administration points to as evidence its efforts have worked.

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Asked Thursday by debate moderator Kristen Welker whether he thought North Korea’s new ICBM is a betrayal of his relationship with Kim — from whom he has boasted of receiving “love letters” — Trump said “no.”

Trump also claimed in vague terms that his close relationship with Kim stopped the leader from an action recently, but he did not elaborate.

“About two months ago, he broke into a certain area, and they said, ‘Oh there's going to be trouble.’ I said, ‘No there’s not because he's not going to do that.’ And I was right,” he said.

It is unclear to what Trump was referring.

In late September, North Korea shot and killed a South Korean official and burned his body after he was found on a floating object near the countries’ disputed sea boundary. In June, North Korea blew up an empty inter-Korean liaison office it maintained just inside its border and also upped threatening rhetoric against South Korea.

Biden, in turn, hit Trump for calling a “thug” like Kim his “good buddy.”

“They have much more capable missiles able to reach U.S. territory much more easily than they ever did before,” Biden said.

The former vice president said he would meet with Kim under the condition that “he would agree that he would be drawing down his nuclear capacity.”