- President Donald Trump said that he is “trying to calm” his rhetoric toward North Korea.
- Trump’s change in tone comes amid a historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
- The US president announced that the date and location of the summit has been set, but provided no additional details.
President Donald Trump indicated he would try to replicate the conciliatory mood on the Korean Peninsula by toning down his own pointed rhetoric, which helped escalate tensions between the US and North Korea last year.
“We’re really doing well with North Korea,” Trump said at a National Rifle Association convention on Friday. “Now I’m trying to calm it down a bit.”
“Look, for years they’ve had this problem and everybody has said, ‘oh, don’t talk, don’t talk, please don’t talk,'” Trump said. “The last administration had a policy of silence. Don’t talk! You may make them and him angry!”
In 2017, Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un traded verbal salvos after the regime conducted several missile launches and a nuclear test that, by most accounts, had reached unprecedented levels.
But following an outreach campaign by North Korea earlier this year, Trump walked back some of his brash claims. In March, Trump was presented with an opportunity to meet Kim for diplomatic talks and the US president reportedly accepted immediately.
Trump credited his own negotiation skills and his departure from the practices of previous administrations for the new diplomatic developments on the Korean Peninsula.
“The Bush administration did nothing,” Trump said in February. “The Obama administration wanted to do something. He told me it’s the single biggest problem. They didn’t do anything. It would have been much easier in those days than it is now.”
Kim met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April, which resulted in an agreement that broadly outlined the goals of “reflecting the enduring aspiration of the Korean people for peace, prosperity and unification.”
Trump announced that the venue and date for his meeting with Kim has been finalized, but he did not disclose details, except for a timeline of sometime in late May or early June.
US and South Korean officials have maintained contact ahead of the Trump-Kim meeting, and President Moon is headed to the White House on May 22 to discuss related matters.