President Donald Trump attempted to dismiss the concerns about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s human-rights abuses as part of the effort to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
When pushed by Fox News’ Brett Baier about Kim’s oppression of his own people, Trump said: “Yeah, but so have a lot of other people have done some really bad things.”
Later when asked about his decision to negotiate with a known “killer,” Trump praised the North Korean leader for being a “tough guy” who managed to take control of his country at a young age.
“I don’t care who you are, what you are, what kind of advantage you have,” Trump said of Kim, whose family has controlled North Korea since its creation. “If you can do that at 27 years old, you, I mean, that’s one in 10,000 that can do that.”
Trump went on to call Kim a “very smart guy” and a “great negotiator” in the interview, which was aired Wednesday.
“I think we understand each other,” he said.
Trump was criticized by the international community for his praising of Kim, which started after the Group of Seven where the U.S. President had a confrontation on trade issues with his European allies.
After meeting with Kim, Trump called him a “very talented man” who is a “funny guy” and “loves his people.”
Last Year, Human Rights Watch called North Korea “one of the most repressive authoritarian states in the world.”
Kim is also accused by the United Nations Human Rights Council and watchdog groups of doing public executions, arbitrary detention and forced labor, and torturing and persecuting those with religious affiliations.
Kim was also accused of assassinating his half-brother at a Malaysia airport with a banned nerve agent.
The President’s comments on Kim are similar to his response to a question about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s human-rights abuses.
Asked in a 2017 interview by Fox News’ anchor Bill O’Reilly why he respects Putin, given that he is a “killer,” Trump said: “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, you think our country is so innocent?”