In a new interview, President Donald Trump says Russia is “not helping us at all with North Korea” and is actually “making up for some” trade restrictions placed on the country by China, one of North Korea’s foremost trading partners.
He made the comments in a nearly hour-long interview with Reuters.
Trump praised China for imposing new sanctions on oil and coal shipments to the country, but worried that fuel shipments to the country — like the shipments documented in late 2017 — were mostly making up for what was no longer coming from China. The Russian shipments violate UN sanctions, but there is no evidence at this time that the operation involved knowledge or planning at the state level.
Trump said “the net result” of the oil embargo was “not as good as it could be” without Russian cooperation.
“Unfortunately,” he added, “we don’t have much of a relationship with Russia.”
While Trump would not comment on whether he’d initiated direct talks with Kim Jong-un — outside Twitter, where Trump has called the dictator “Little Rocket Man” and mocked his “nuclear button” which he says “doesn’t work” — he says he doubts that direct talks with Kim would have any effectiveness and asserted that the regime had “taken advantage” of prior presidents.
I’m not sure that talks will lead to anything meaningful. They’ve talked for 25 years and they’ve taken advantage of our presidents, of our previous presidents.
He wouldn’t comment on reports that the United States was considering a preemptive strike on the country.
“We’re playing a very, very hard game of poker and you don’t want to reveal your hand,” said Trump.
Trump also underlined the imminent threat proposed by North Korea’s nuclear program, saying that the nation with nuclear aspirations “gets closer every day” although they’re “not there yet.” He said, however, that they’re “close” to finishing a missile that could reach the United States.
Reuters reports that while North Korea has produced a missile capable of reaching the continental United States, it can’t yet attach a nuclear payload in a way that would endure reentering the atmosphere.