On Saturday, presidential hopeful and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said that he doesn’t fault President Donald Trump when it comes to his handling of North Korea, ABC News reports. In a rare case of the senator giving credit to Trump, Sanders acknowledged that he felt Trump meeting face-to-face with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was “the right thing to do.”
The remarks came during an interview with ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl in an interview. The discussion stemmed from Friday’s apparent launch of two short-range missiles by North Korea into the Sea of Japan. The test marks the first since November of 2017.
Sanders acknowledged that the situation with North Korea is not an easy one.
“You know, this is one area, actually, where I do not fault Trump. I think the idea of sitting down with Kim Jong Un is the right thing to do. It is very, very difficult, but clearly they are a threat to the planet,” he said. “They are isolated. They’re demagogic, and we have just got to do everything we can to have China and the people in the Pacific Rim put as much pressure on North Korea and make it clear that they cannot continue to act this way.”
North Korea launches 'barrage' of short-range projectiles into the Sea of Japan, American and South Korean military officials confirmed to ABC News on Friday evening. https://t.co/AXpxTOwxv6 pic.twitter.com/CcgnPszFxz— ABC News (@ABC) May 4, 2019
As part of his candidacy for president, Sanders has advocated for putting as much pressure as possible on North Korea, both economically and politically.
Despite the potential diplomatic setback of North Korea resuming testing operations against U.S. wishes, Trump continued to express optimism for the relationship.
“Anything in this very interesting world is possible,” Trump said in a tweet early Saturday. The president then went on to tout the large economic potential of North Korea and committed to doing nothing that would interfere with that potential becoming a reality. He also said that Kim knows that Trump is “with him” and that the North Korean leader would not want to break a promise to Trump.
Trump ended the tweet by saying, with confidence, that a deal would happen.
South Korean military officials were the first to report and confirm North Korea’s missile testing activity. They described a “barrage” of missiles fired into the Sea of Japan at around 9 a.m. local time on Saturday.
In an official statement, North Korea indicated that they had indeed fired long-range rocket launchers and tactical guided weapons. The statement also confirmed that the projectiles were launched on the orders of Kim personally.