Trump Says Russia to Help on North Korea, Offers No Details
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Russia has agreed to help the U.S. deal with North Korea. But he didn’t provide details as he sought to stem political damage following his forced retreat from comments made at his summit with Vladimir Putin.
“Russia has agreed to help with North Korea, where relationships with us are very good and the process is moving along. There is no rush, the sanctions remain! Big benefits and exciting future for North Korea at end of process!” Trump said on Twitter.
Russia’s ambassador to North Korea, Alexander Matsegora, said a summit between Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is “on the agenda,” the RIA Novosti news agency reported earlier Wednesday. United Nations resolutions on sanctions against Pyongyang may allow for the softening of penalties if the government demonstrates proper behavior, Matsegora said.
Russian officials didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on Trump’s latest tweet. Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov began a visit to Pyongyang on Wednesday, North Korea’s KCNA news service reported.
Russia could act as a “guarantor” of North Korea’s security, according to Georgy Toloraya, director of the Asian strategy center at the Russian Academy of Sciences. “Only a multilateral construction involving Russia and China can provide at least some guarantee of North Korea’s security,” he said.
‘Work With Us’
Trump’s comments didn’t go beyond those he made on Monday after the summit, when he said that he gave Putin an update on his meeting with Kim last month and that Russia was “going to work with us.”
Trump tried to change the narrative from the summit after he was widely criticized for siding with Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies in accepting the Russian leader’s denial of interference in the 2016 presidential election. That interference prompted investigations in Congress and by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
On Tuesday, Trump chose to issue a public clarification of remarks he made, saying he misspoke with a single word, and that he accepted the U.S. intelligence finding of Russian meddling in the election. He then immediately undercut that account, looking up from a prepared text to add, “Could be other people also. A lot of people out there.”
On Wednesday, Trump attacked “haters” in a tweet and said the meeting featured many important topics that he expects to pay off.
“So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki,” he said. “Putin and I discussed many important subjects at our earlier meeting. We got along well which truly bothered many haters who wanted to see a boxing match. Big results will come!”
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