WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Friday that the United States won’t get “played” by North Korea as he expressed hopes for the success of the historic meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea aimed at establishing denuclearization and peace.
Starting the day by declaring in a tweet “KOREAN WAR TO END,” Trump made upbeat statements throughout the day about the pledge by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in to seek the end to a war that stalemated in 1953.
“I want to express my hope that all of the people of Korea — North Korea and South — can someday live in harmony, prosperity and peace,” Trump said Friday as he met with members of the U.S. 2018 Winter Olympics team at the White House, adding, “and it looks like it could happen.”
But, speaking of his planned upcoming meeting with the North Korean leader, Trump insisted he wouldn’t fall into the traps that snared past administrations, of making a deal only to have the other side renege.
“The United States has been played beautifully, like a fiddle, because you had a different kind of a leader,” Trump said Friday before he began a working lunch with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “We’re not going to be played, OK? We’re going to hopefully make a deal. If we don’t, that’s fine.”
Of the North Korean dictator, Trump said, “Oh, I don’t think he’s playing,” adding that no North Korean leader had “ever had this enthusiasm” to reach a deal. “It’s never gone this far.”
Trump praised President Xi Jinping of China, who “has been very helpful at the border” in prodding North Korea to the table. But Trump also claimed credit for himself.
“When I began, people said that was an impossibility,” he said. “They said there were two alternatives: Let them have what they have, or go to war. And now we have a much better alternative than anyone thought even possible.”