Trump says he has “patience” for North Korea’s Kim to make deal

(Bloomberg pic)

WASHINGTON: Donald Trump said he can be patient with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has yet to take appreciable steps to give up his country’s nuclear weapons following a summit with the US president in June.

“I have greater patience than any human being in the world,” Trump said in a White House interview with Bloomberg News on Thursday. “People don’t understand that about me.”

He said that his relationship with Kim remains “good” and pointed that before their summit in Singapore in June, North Korea returned several Americans it had detained and has continued to refrain from tests of nuclear weapons or missiles capable of carrying them.

“You’ve had no missile testing, you’ve had no rocket testing,” Trump said. “We got back our hostages. And there’s been no nuclear tests. And that’s pretty good.”

Last week, Trump called off a planned trip to North Korea by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo after concluding there wasn’t enough progress in talks aimed at denuclearising the Korean Peninsula.

Then, on Wednesday, Trump accused China of undermining US efforts to pressure North Korea into giving up its nuclear weapons.

“North Korea is under tremendous pressure from China because of our major trade disputes with the Chinese Government,” Trump said in a series of tweets. “At the same time, we also know that China is providing North Korea with considerable aid, including money, fuel, fertiliser and various other commodities. This is not helpful!”

The turn of events stands in contrast to Trump’s optimism after his meeting with Kim in Singapore. Trump left the summit saying the men had forged a special bond, that Kim was committed to denuclearisation and that critics were underestimating what he had accomplished.

“I’ve had a good relationship with Kim Jong Un and I’m not saying it won’t change,” Trump said in the interview. “It could change. The whole situation could change.”