Relaxed tone marks change from claims that earlier summit with Kim Jong-un would lead to rapid disarmament
Donald Trump has said he is in no rush for North Korea to dismantle its nuclear arsenal, noting that missile testing had stopped while sanctions on Pyongyang had not been relaxed.
Ive got all the time in the world, Trump said, at a freewheeling press conference after his appearance at the UN general assembly.
His relaxed tone marked a stark change from the presidents claims after his summit with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un in Singapore in June, which Trump said would lead to rapid disarmament.
It also marks a contrast with a claim a week ago by the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo who said that negotiations would lead to the rapid denuclearisation of North Korea, to be completed by January 2021.
In his remarks on Wednesday, Trump suggested he had rebuked Pompeo for talking about a deadline.
I told Mike Pompeo, I said: Mike dont get into the time frame, the president said. I think we are really going to do something that is very important, but we are not playing the time game. If takes two years three years, or five months. It doesnt matter. There is no nuclear testing and there is no testing of rockets.
The state department announced on Wednesday that Pompeo would be traveling to Pyongyang at Kims invitation next month, to continue negotiations on the final, fully verified denuclearisation of North Korea.
Trump pointed to the current freeze in North Korean testing as a significant achievement that had cost the US nothing as the international sanctions had not be lifted.
He also underlined his good relationship with Kim.
He wants to make a deal. I want to make a deal, Trump said in course of a rambling press conference. He likes me. I like him. He wrote me two of the most beautiful letters. ..It is historical. It is a beautiful piece of art.
Trump also claimed, without evidence, that Barack Obama had been on the point of going to war with North Korea in the last weeks of his presidency and that Trumps election had saved the world from calamity.
If I wasnt elected you were going to have a war. He was ready to go to war. You would have had a war and you would have lost millions, not thousands, Trump said. You know how close he was to pressing the trigger to war?
Obama reportedly warned Trump during the presidential transition that North Korea represented a serious threat, but the crisis worsened in the first year of the Trump administration, as Pyongyang carried out tests of an apparent thermonuclear bomb and an intercontinental ballistic missile. At last years UN general assembly, Trump threatened to totally destroy North Korea.
Mintaro Oba, a former state department official said Trumps relaxed attitude was better than artificial deadlines.
As crazy as this press conference is, I do much prefer that we not declare a deadline for North Korean denuclearisation, Oba said in a tweet. Saying well get it done by 2021 was not a realistic or helpful thing to say.
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