NEW YORK – US President Donald Trump signaled on Thursday that he has developed a good relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un despite recent tensions between the two leaders.
“I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un,” Trump said in an interview about the first year of his presidency with New York-based newspaper The Wall Street Journal.
“I have relationships with people. I think you people are surprised,” the US President said.
Trump, however, declined to confirm whether or not he had spoken with Kim.
“I don’t want to comment on it. I’m not saying I have or haven’t. I just don’t want to comment,” he replied, when asked by the newspaper if he had contacts with the North Korean leader.
Recently, Trump has been more open, on more than one occasion, to having a dialogue with North Korea, most recently on Jan. 10 when the White House cited Trump’s willingness to hold talks “at the appropriate time, under the right circumstances.”
The US has had no official contacts with North Korea for years, and over the past few month Trump had an exchange of hostile remarks with the North Korean leader, who has been repeatedly mocked by Trump as a “rocket man” over his weapons programs.
According to the US president, all these harsh comments are part of a strategy.
“You’ll see that a lot with me,” Trump said of his belligerent remarks towards the North Korean leader, but added “then all of the sudden somebody’s my best friend. I could give you 20 examples. You could give me 30. I’m a very flexible person.”
On Jan. 9, South and North Korean delegations held a meeting at their militarized border and agreed to ensure “the safety and success” of the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
North Korea has recently expressed its interests in attending the Winter Olympics, which marks an important moment of possible rapprochement between the two Koreas after a year of tensions triggered by North Korea’s continuous weapons tests and the US President’s aggressive remarks towards the regime.
When asked if Kim intended to “drive a wedge” between Seoul and Washington by opening the talks with South Korea, the US president did not rule it out.
“If I were them, I would try,” he said. “The difference is I’m president, other people aren’t.”
“And I know more about wedges than any human being that’s lived,” he added.