President Donald Trump on Friday hit back at critics of his negotiating tactics with North Korea, arguing that everyone before him failed.
A reporter asked Trump whether he has spoken directly to Kim Jong Un, and Trump said he could not comment on that but said he had a “very good working relationship” with Kim. He added that he found it amusing people who have “failed so badly” at negotiating with North Korea were telling him what to do.
“Things have changed very radically from a few months ago,” Trump said. “You know the name calling and a lot of other things? We get a kick every once in a while out of the fact that I’ll be watching people that failed so badly over the last 25 years explaining to me how to make a deal with North Korea.”
The president touted how he has worked together with allies, saying something “very dramatic could happen” after the work being done with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
He then said former President Barack Obama informed him when he was elected that North Korea would be his “biggest problem.”
“President Obama told me when I had the one meeting with him, he said, ‘That’s your biggest problem. That’s going to be the most difficult thing you have.’ Honestly, I wish it was handled earlier, I wish it was handled by another administration years ago. I’m not just talking about President Obama. I’d go back to any administration you want,” Trump said.
“This should have been handled a long time ago, not now,” Trump added.
He went on to say the president has a “responsibility” to try to solve the problem with North Korea and he hopes he can be the one to do it “for the world.”
“This is beyond the United States; this is a world problem and it’s something I hope I’m able to do for the world,” Trump said.
Moon was not the only world leader Trump praised. He said Chinese President Xi Jinping has cooperated in the “maximum pressure” campaign to force North Korea to negotiate because of their relationship.
“President Xi of China has been really good at the border. Everyone is surprised at how he clamped down, everyone said he would just talk about it and wouldn’t do it,” Trump said. “Well, he did it, he did it out of a relationship that we had and also the fact that we’re negotiating trade deals—that’s also very important to him. Hopefully, we can come up with something that is very good for both countries.”
Earlier Friday, Trump on Twitter hailed the meeting between Moon and Kim as the possible end to the conflict on the Korean peninsula.