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Trump repeatedly makes positive remarks about N. Korean leader

06:09 May 02, 2017

WASHINGTON, May 1 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump appears to clearly see a positive side of North Korean Kim Jong-un that many others cannot see in the autocratic leader brandishing nuclear weapons and missiles while starving his own people.

Over the past few days, Trump has repeatedly praised Kim for taking over the regime at a young age. On Monday, Trump even said he is "absolutely" willing and would be "honored" to meet with the North's leader, even though such a meeting should take place "under the right circumstances."

"If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it," Trump said in an interview with Bloomberg News. "If it's under the, again, under the right circumstances. But I would do that."

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump's use of the word "honored" is because "he's still a head of state."

"There is a diplomatic piece to this," he said.

Last week, Trump called Kim a "pretty smart cookie," saying he took over power from his father at a young age while dealing with "very tough people" trying to take power away from him, including his uncle that Kim executed.

On Monday, Spicer echoed what Trump said and added Kim led the North "forward."

"He assumed power at a young age when his father passed away. And there was a lot of potential threats that could have come his way, and he's obviously managed to lead a country forward," Spicer said.

"Despite the obvious concerns that we and so many other people have, he is a young person to be leading a country with nuclear weapons. And so that set aside, I think the president recognizes the threat that he poses and is doing everything he can to isolate that threat and to make sure that we bring stability to the region," Spicer said.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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