President Trump says he and Kim Jong Un “fell in love” after the North Korean leader wrote him “beautiful letters” and characterized the U.S. as having “a very good relationship” with North Korea.
The president’s comments, at a political rally Saturday night in Wheeling, W.Va., came just hours after a North Korean official said talks between the countries had deadlocked. The U.S. wants North Korea to dismantle its nuclear-arms program.
“Without any trust in the U.S., there will be no confidence in our national security and under such circumstances, there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first,” North Korea’s foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, told the U.N. General Assembly earlier Saturday.
Mr. Trump said talks between Washington and Pyongyang had reached a deadlock because of continued pressure from the U.S. to uphold sanctions and Washington’s objection to formally declaring an end to the Korean War.
The president told supporters at his rally that his administration has de-escalated tensions with North Korea. He contrasted his approach with that of the Obama administration, which he said was on the brink of war with a country that has been trying to build a nuclear arsenal.
“I was really being tough, and so was he,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Kim. “And we were going back and forth, and then we fell in love, OK? No, really. He wrote me beautiful letters. And they’re great letters. We fell in love.”
Mr. Trump went on to predict the media would call him “unpresidential” for saying he and Mr. Kim “fell in love” and mocked other politicians for not trying hard enough to be entertaining.
Over the summer, Mr. Kim sent flattering letters that addressed Mr. Trump as “your excellency” but didn’t contain specifics about how North Korea was adhering to the U.S. demand that it curb its nuclear program.
Last week, speaking at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Mr. Trump backed off his administration’s previous requirement that North Korea rapidly dismantle its arsenal, saying it is fine if it takes months or years.
Mr. Ri and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met on the sidelines of the General Assembly, and Mr. Pompeo said he would be traveling to Pyongyang for a second meeting next month.
—Peter Nicholas contributed to this article.