In his news conference after meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un on Tuesday, President Trump hit back at the argument that he gave Kim a propaganda coup in return for a vague promise of denuclearization. "I gave up nothing — I'm here," Trump said. But North Korea agreed to "complete denuclearization — that's the big thing — they secured the release of three American hostages," agreed to return the remains of U.S. service members, and stopped testing nuclear weapons.
"They have given up a tremendous amount," Trump said. "You could add the Olympics to the question: They went to the Olympics. They took an Olympics that was going to be a massive failure, that maybe wouldn't have even opened, and they made it a tremendous success by agreeing to participate. Add that to the list of things that they've done."
Reporter: Do you now see Kim Jong Un as an equal?
President Trump: “No. I don't think that -- I don't view it that way. I'll do whatever it takes to make the world a safer place.” https://t.co/0GKdLYDYlc pic.twitter.com/4ODbAzCSOo
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 12, 2018
North Korea did release three U.S. hostages it had seized, but University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier died after spending more than a year in a North Korean prison camp, accused of stealing a propaganda poster. What happened to Warmbier "was a terrible thing, it was brutal, but a lot of people started to focus on what was going on, including North Korea," Trump argued. "Otto did not die in vain."
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 12, 2018
Trump called Kim "very talented," because he took over North Korea "at 26 years of age and is able to run it, and run it tough — I don't say it was nice, or I don't say anything about it, he runs it." Peter Weber