President Donald Trump says he trusts North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un to keep to their agreement and denuclearize his country.
The president touted the personal relationship between the two – who met for the first time in person Tuesday – and his ability to quickly take the measure of the man.
‘I do trust him, yeah,’ Trump told ABC News. ‘Maybe in a year you’ll be interviewing and I’ll say I made a mistake. It’s possible. We’re dealing at a high level, a lot of things can change a lot of things are possible.’
He added that trust is returned.
‘He trusts me, I believe, I really do,’ he said. ‘He said no other president could have done this. I think he trusts me, and I trust him.’
The president, who enjoys making deals, said that history of negotiations helped him get a read on Kim.
‘You know, over my lifetime I’ve done a lot of deals with a lot of people, and sometimes the people that you most distrust turn out to be the most honorable ones, and the people that you do trust they are not the honorable ones, so we are starting from a very high plane, we’re starting from a very good relationship. This has been a very big day in terms of the world,’ he said.
Trump went on to explain that he feels Kim wants to do a good job for his country.
‘I’m given what I’m given,’ Trump said. ‘This is what we have, this is where we are, and I can only tell you from my experience, and I’ve met him, I’ve spoken with him. I’ve met him. And this is, this has started early and it’s been very intense. I think that he really wants to do a great job for North Korea. I think he wants to de-nuke, without that, there’s nothing to discuss. It was on the table from the beginning, and you see a total denuclearization of North Korea – so important.’
And, he argued, Kim gets a lot out of the bargain struck between the two.
‘He’s going to be happy. His country does love him. His people, you see the fervor. They have a great fervor.’
The president prides himself on his ability to read people and often breaches diplomatic protocol in favor of one-on-one conversations.
When Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Mar-a-Lago in April 2017, Trump upended weeks of international negotiations by asking for an immediate one-on-one meeting with Xi.
In July of last year, when Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, the meeting between the two men – that was originally scheduled for 30 minutes – went well over the two hour mark. It was running so long that first lady Melania Trump was sent in to try and end it although she failed in her attempt.
In an effort to continue his art of personal relations, Trump told ABC News he’d love to have Kim visit the Whit House.
‘Whatever it takes, and I would love to have him at the White House, and I think he’d love to be there,’ he said.
The president also said he had to use some tough talk to get the summit, which was scheduled and then canceled and then rescheduled, back on the table.
‘Well I think without the rhetoric we wouldn’t have been here,’ Trump told Fox News. ‘I really believe that. You know, we did sanctions and all the things you would do but I think without the rhetoric … I hated to do it, sometimes I felt foolish doing it, but we had no choice.’
Trump canceled the summit in a May 24 letter to Kim that lamented that ‘this missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history.’