At a press conference following the historic Trump-Kim summit held in Singapore, the president of the United States took the time to hold a short speech and answer journalists’ questions. The Washington Post has transcribed and published both.
After being asked about his previous statements and his praise for North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, Donald Trump reaffirmed that he does, indeed, consider Kim to be a “talented” leader.
Below is Trump’s answer, verbatim.
“Well, he is very talented. Anybody that takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run it and run it tough, I don’t say it was nice or I don’t say anything about it, he ran it. Very few people at that age, you can take 1 out of 10,000, probably couldn’t do it.”
NBC’s journalist further pressed Trump on the issue, citing the case of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who died last year after being released from captivity in North Korea. Otto’s parents, the POTUS said, are his personal friends. Although what happened to Otto was “terrible” and “brutal,” he did not die in vain, the president said.
“He had a lot to do with us being here today. Okay. Thank you very much,” Trump concluded.
The “talented” Kim is, according to the Business Insider, one of the youngest leaders in the world. After being groomed for power, effectively his entire life, Kim Jong-un had inherited the supreme leader position from his father at the tender age of 26, and much like his father, tough he has been.
Reportedly, hundreds of thousands of political prisoners have perished in North Korean prison camps over the past few decades, and between 80,000 and 120,000 people remain detained in one of North Korea’s massive prison camps for political prisoners, according to UN estimates.
According to a Human Rights Watch report, North Korea is one of the most repressive authoritarian states in the world. In North Korea, human rights violations are systematic, widespread, and include torture, imprisonment, sexual violence, enslavement, forced abortion, and murder.
The same report details the systematic abuse of the workforce in “tough” Kim’s North Korea, where laborers and students are forced to perform unpaid labor in an effort to sustain the country’s weak economy. School children, students, and adults, men and unmarried women are forced to work at government-assigned enterprises, and typically not compensated.
While the president said that Kim is “tough,” but not “nice,” some polls show that North Korean’s supreme leader has managed to recover his image, at least to an extent. For instance, as the Inquisitr reported, Kim Jong-un’s popularity has surged in neighboring South Korea – where nearly 80 percent of citizens trust Kim Jong-un, polls show – a country in which some cafes serve drinks decorated with Kim’s smile.