Former President Donald Trump condemned the Biden administration for its handling of North Korea on Sunday, during an address to church-led conference in South Korea, claiming the pariah state would not have launched missile tests if he were still in power.
Instead he claimed his strategy of ‘peace through strength’ delivered unprecedented progress.
His pre-recorded remarks were delivered to an event in Seoul organized by the Unification Church, a Christian group known for its mass weddings and global business interests.
Other members of his administration attended in person including his Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – both seen as possible 2024 candidates.
Trump said that his face-to-face meetings with Kim Jong-un brought results, including the return of hostages and the remains of hostages.
‘Over the past several months, we have seen a concerning return to escalation, including a number of missile tests,’ he said.
‘Chairman Kim does not respect or trust the leaders of the United States.
‘Well, everyone knows that this would never have happened if I were president.’
Former President Donald Trump condemned the Biden administration for its handling of North Korea on Sunday, during a speech to Korean church-led event
Trump blasted his successor’s foreign policy and the ‘incompetence’ of President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, and told his audience not to mistake ‘the weakness of our current leaders in the United States for the weakness of the United States of America.’
Trump met three times with the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un
He also urged North Korea to do anything to endanger what he said was a ‘unique opportunity’ to make progress in the four years under his presidency.
‘As I have said many times, I strongly believe the best path for North Korea lies down the path of greater cooperation, integration and economic development,’ he said.
‘But for that to happen, there can be no threat of nuclear weapons just can’t work. denuclearization is not the greatest risk for North Korea. Denuclearization is the greatest opportunity.’
Kim’s regime resumed tests of shorter range missiles in 2019, while Trump was in office – a year after unilaterally halting tests of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Trump met Kim in Singapore in 2018, becoming the first sitting president to meet with a North Korean ruler.
They met two more times, but progress stalled after their second meeting when the U.S. rejected North Korean demands for the lifting of sanctions in return for a partial halt to its nuclear program.
This year, North Korea has stepped up its launches – oftentimes of already tested and proven technologies.
At least six ballistic missiles were launched in four tests in January alone.
‘Do not mistake the weakness of our current leaders in the United States for the weakness of the United States of America,’ said Trump.
‘They are not the same. That would be a terrible mistake.’
Trump (left) met Kim in the DMZ separating North Korea from South Korea in June 2019 – their third in-person meeting. Trump has told confidants he has remained in touch with Kim
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman’s upcoming book Confidence Man
And he urged the audience not to underestimate the U.S. based on President Biden’s foreign policy.
‘Career politicians come and go but Americans are the same strong, proud and confident people we have always been,’ he said.
‘We are the fiercest and most loyal of all friends.
‘The incompetence we have witnessed in the Afghan withdrawal and the way it was handled, and other places may have weakened the poll numbers of certain current politicians but it has only strengthened this spines of the American people.’
Last week, excerpts from a new book revealed that Trump has told confidants that he still talks to Kim.
Journalist Maggie Haberman said Kim was the only foreign leader that Trump had said he remained in touch with.
‘What he says and what’s actually happening are not always in concert, but he has been telling people that he has maintained some kind of a correspondence or discussion with Kim Jong-un,’ she told CNN about her forthcoming book ‘Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America.’
During his speech at the weekend gathering, Pence said deepening relations between China and Russia are posing increasing threats to their democratic neighbors, forum organizers told the Associated Press. He also called for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the statement read.
While in Seoul, Pence met with South Korean conservative presidential candidate, Yoon Suk Yeol, as well as foreign policy advisers to the rival ruling party of Lee Jae-myung.