Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday boasted that Donald Trump’s tough line had forced North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to beg to re-schedule a high-profile summit after Trump abruptly called off the meeting.
After the cancellation, “Kim Jong-un got back on his hands and knees and begged for it, which is exactly the position you want to put him in,” Giuliani, now a lawyer for Trump, told a business conference in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv.
In an interview later with Associated Press, Giuliani rejected suggestions that such comments might sour the atmosphere ahead of next week’s summit, saying that the North Korean leader must understand that the United States is in a position of strength.
“It is pointing out that the president is the stronger figure,” Giuliani said. “And you’re not going to have useful negotiations unless he accepts that.”
Giuliani said Trump had no choice but to call off the meeting after the North Koreans insulted vice-president Mike Pence, National Security Adviser John Bolton and threatened “nuclear annihilation” of the US.
“President Trump didn’t take that. What he did was he called off the summit,” he said.
Giuliani said Kim quickly changed his position, expressed willingness to discuss denuclearisation and asked to have the meeting again.
“That’s what I mean by begging for it,” Giuliani said.
The summit is back on in Singapore next Tuesday.
Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer in the Russian investigation, noted that he was sharing a personal opinion and was not part of the US foreign policy team.
Singapore’s foreign minister will make a two-day trip to Pyongyang starting Thursday, as preparations for the Trump-Kim summit in the city state accelerate.
The announcement came a day after the White House revealed that the historic June 12 meeting between the US and North Korean leaders will take place in a luxury hotel on Singapore’s resort island of Sentosa.
The summit is due to be held following a rapid detente between Pyongyang and Washington – as well as South Korea – in a turnaround from a dramatic escalation of tensions last year, when the North ratcheted up its weapons programme.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse
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