Days before President Donald Trump said that he would be “honored” to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Trump appeared to be singing a different tune to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte during a private phone call in April.
According to a confidential transcript obtained by The Washington Post, Trump called Kim a “madman with nuclear weapons.”
The subject was broached when Duterte expressed his concern about North Korea and the other nations within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, during another year of continued provocations from Kim Jong Un’s regime. Duterte conveyed that the Philippines was “nervous about the situation” because “as long as those rockets and warheads are in the hands of [Kim Jong Un], we will never be safe as there’s [no] telling what will happen next.”
Trump responded by touting US military capabilities. “We have a lot of firepower over there,” Trump said. “We have two submarines — the best in the world — we have two nuclear submarines — not that we want to use them at all.”
“I’ve never seen anything like they are, but we don’t have to use this but he could be crazy so we will see what happens,” Trump continued. “We can handle it.”
Trump also asked Duterte whether Kim Jong Un was “stable or not stable.”
“He is not stable … as he keeps on smiling when he explodes a rocket,” Duterte answered, according to the transcript. “But it seems from his face he is laughing always and there’s a dangerous toy in his hands which could create so much agony and suffering for all mankind.”
“He is playing with his bombs, his toys and from the looks of it, his mind is not working well and he might go crazy one moment,” Duterte continued. “Every generation has a mad man — in our generation is Kim [Jong] Un — you are dealing with a very delicate problem.”
Days after the phone call between the two presidents, Trump reportedly said that he would be “honored” to meet with Kim “under the right circumstances,” according to a Bloomberg report.
China’s involvement in moderating the relationship between North Korea and the rest of the world was also discussed. China has long been the hopeful ace card that would keep North Korea in check; however, for years, the neighbouring country has been believed to have failed to live up its expectations.
“I hope China solves the problem,” Trump said. “But if China doesn’t do it, we will do it.”
“We can’t let a madman with nuclear weapons let on the loose like that. We have a lot of firepower, more than he has, times 20 but we don’t want to use it,” said Trump.
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