President Donald Trump called North Korea and its leader a “menace” on Thursday.
“As far as North Korea is concerned, we are in very good shape,” Trump told reporters during a joint news conference alongside Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. “We’re building our military rapidly. A lot of things have happened over the last short period of time. I’ve been here for approximately 91 days. We’re doing a lot of work. We’re in very good position.”
But the president wouldn’t say whether he feels North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is mentally unstable and, therefore, unable to be reasoned with.
“I can’t answer your question on stability,” he said in response to the question. “I hope the answer is a positive one, not a negative one, but hopefully that will be something that gets taken care of.”
Trump, who met with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this month at Mar-a-Lago, touted his relationship with the Chinese leader, whom he hopes will rein in North Korea.
“I actually told him, I said, ‘You’ll make a much better deal on trade if you get rid of this menace or do something about the menace of North Korea.’ Because that’s what it is,” Trump said, referring to a past conversation with Xi about North Korea.
“It’s a menace right now,” he continued. “So we’ll see what happens.”
Trump’s rhetoric echoes a tweet the president blasted earlier this month. “Had a very good call last night with the President of China concerning the menace of North Korea,” he wrote on April 12.