Trump says Kim Jong-un 'speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same'

The comment comes just after Mr Trump saluted a North Korean general 

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Friday 15 June 2018 15:14 BST
Trump discusses Kim Jong-Un: "He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same"

US President Donald Trump has said that he would like US citizens to "sit up in attention" when he talks, in the same way North Korea's people do when their leader Kim Jong-un speaks.

The president was speaking about his relationship with the North Korean dictator, who has been accused of numerous human rights violations by the United Nations and watchdog groups.

"He speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same," Mr Trump quipped of Mr Kim during an interview on Fox News' 'Fox & Friends' while standing on the lawn outside of the White House. Later in the morning, Mr Trump told other news outlets he was "kidding" about the comment.

In the free-ranging interview, Mr Trump also said that he "think[s] it's great to give [Mr Kim] credibility," adding that the US has "a very good relationship with North Korea... we have a really great relationship" in response to criticism that he saluted a North Korean general during his historic summit with Mr Kim in Singapore.

The video footage had not been released by the White House and US media were not aware of it until North Korean state-run media ran it.

Mr Trump, a father of five, said he would spend Father's Day on Sunday "calling North Korea," but did not specify what the conversation would entail nor if it would be a direct conversation with Mr Kim.

The president then moved over to a full gaggle of reporters also waiting on the White House lawn for him to continue answering questions. When asked why he appeared to be defending the North Korean regime despite accusations of human rights violations from the UN, Mr Trump said "you know why? because I don't want to see a nuclear weapon destroy you and your family".

Singapore Summit 2018: Donald Trump says North Korea will 'dismantle missile test site'

"I want to have a good relationship with North Korea. I want to have a good relationship with many other countries," the president said, seeming irritated at the question.

He then launched into what has become a regular activity of hitting out the media, and tge, saying: "and what I've done, if you remember, if you're fair, which most of you aren't...when I came in people thought we were probably going to war with North Korea. If we did millions of people would have been killed".

"I came in, that was what I inherited," the president claimed. "I did a great job this weekend," the president claimed about the Singapore summit while answering the criticism that he "gave up" ground to Mr Kim without receiving many concessions from Pyongyang.

Mr Trump announced that joint military exercises which regularly take place with South Korea in the region would be halted in order to not further exacerbate inter-Korean tensions. The Pentagon did receive official guidance on the matter until days later.

The president countered the assertion that he conceded more than Mr Kim, by reeling off the number of months without a missile test by North Korea.

"You haven't had a missile test in seven months, you haven't had a firing, you haven't had a nuclear test in eight-and-a-half months, you haven't had a missile flying over Japan," Mr Trump said.

He also once again that during the 2016 campaign American families who lost loved ones in the Korean War "begg[ed]" to bring the soldiers' remains home and that Mr Kim "gave us the remains of our great heroes".

"They're doing so much for us," the president said about Mr Kim's regime.

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