Following his historic meeting with Kim Jong Un, U.S. President Donald Trump said Kim “has to be a rough guy,”but is also a leader who "loves his people," despite the North Korean leader's disturbing human rights history.
Trump told VOA contributor Greta Van Susteren in an interview in Singapore, where the two leaders met, he discussed North Korea’s dismal human rights record and believes Kim has “a great feeling” for its citizens and “wants to do right by them.”
When asked about Kim’s history of starving and brutalizing his people, Trump responded by saying, “Look, he’s doing what he’s seen done” and added U.S. sanctions against Pyongyang “will remain on until we can start dismantling ... the nuclear weapons.”
“I think great things are going to happen for North Korea,” Trump added.
Since Kim Jong Un succeeded his father in December 2011 the North Korean leader has ordered the public assassination of his half brother with a nerve agent, executed his uncle by firing squad, and was responsible for the death of U.S. college student Otto Warmbier in North Korean custody.
Trump said Warmbier did not die in vain as his death helped begin the process that led to the summit. Warmbier died last year days after returning to the United States in a coma after being released from North Korea.
A 2014 United Nations report that examined North Korea concluded the country was among the world’s worst human rights violators.
“These crimes against humanity entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.”
When U.N. research for the 2014 report was conducted, it was discovered that widespread malnutrition and hunger persisted among the general population and that starvation-caused deaths continued to be reported.