President Trump praised North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as “very talented man,” telling reporters “anybody that takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run it and run it tough.”
Trump said that he found the North Korean premier to be “a very worthy, very smart negotiator” who “loves his country very much” and vowed to meet with Kim “many times.”
Asked by a reporter if he found Kim to be a worthy negotiator, Trump said: “A worthy negotiator…a very worthy, very smart negotiator. We had a terrific day and we learned a lot about each other and our countries.”
The president’s comments came after the two leaders met face to face earlier Tuesday – an encounter that culminated in the signing of an agreement that committed the U.S. to unspecified “security guarantees” in exchange for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
At the signing ceremony, Trump said that it was an “honor” to meet Kim, and proclaimed that the two countries had developed a “very special bond.”
“I think our whole relationship with North Korea and the Korean peninsula is going to be a very different situation than it has in the past,” he said. “We’ve developed a very special bond.”
According to an Auschwitz survivor serving on a panel probing human rights violations carried out by the isolated regime, Kim Jong Un oversees a system of political prisons that are worse than the Nazi concentration camps of World War II.
Thomas Buergenthal, one of three jurists selected by the International Bar Association to gather statements from former North Korean prisoners and guards, said Kim should face charges for crimes against humanity for his efforts to retain power and wield fear.
“I believe that the conditions in the [North] Korean prison camps are as terrible, or even worse, than those I saw and experienced in my youth in these Nazi camps and in my long professional career in the human rights field,” Buergenthal told The Washington Post in 2017.
The panel concluded that Kim’s political prison camps were guilty of 10 of the 11 internationally recognized war crimes, including murder, enslavement and sexual violence.
The other panel members were Navi Pillay, a United Nations high commissioner for human rights from South Africa, and Mark Harmon, an American judge with experience with Yugoslavia and Cambodia war crimes cases. The experts heard from former prisoners, prison guards and others in their investigation into North Korea’s brutal prison system from 1970 to 2006.
“There is not a comparable situation anywhere in the world, past or present,” Pillay said. “This is really an atrocity at the maximum level, where the whole population is subject to intimidation.”
Kim took over after the death of his father, who served after the death of his father. The family cultivates a cult of personality in part by sending anyone who questions the political structure to a penal labor colony. The suspect’s family members are also sent away with them as part of a campaign to eliminate the “seed” of “enemies of the state,” the panel found. Officials in the ruling Workers’ Party and in the State Security Department were blamed for the abuse, along with the Kim regime.
Reporter: Why are you so comfortable calling Kim Jong Un “very talented?”
President Trump: “Well, he is very talented. Anybody that takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run it and run it tough. I don’t say he was nice.” https://t.co/0GKdLYDYlc pic.twitter.com/iyreFRsWTJ
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 12, 2018
President Trump also praised North Korea’s beaches, saying he told Kim Jong Un he could build beachfront hotels and condos instead of using the land to test-fire missiles.
“Instead of doing that, you could have the best hotels in the world right there,” Trump said he told Kim. “Think of it from a real estate perspective.”
Trump said he brought Kim to the table by showing him what the future could look like should he choose the path of peace: “Instead of [testing missiles] you could have the best hotels in the world right there. Think of it from a real estate perspective” https://t.co/XBC0Sh0nRK pic.twitter.com/dlxvxLPcLG
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) June 12, 2018