Biden says Trump gave North Korea’s leader legitimacy

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President Biden on Friday night didn’t rule out a possible meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, but said he wouldn’t follow the path of former President Trump by giving Mr. Kim “all he’s looking for.”

“I would not do what had been done in the recent past,” Mr. Biden said without mentioning Mr. Trump’s name. “I would not give [Mr. Kim] all he’s looking for — international recognition as legitimate, and … allow him to move in the direction of appearing to be, how can I say it, more serious about what he wasn’t at all serious about.”

Mr. Trump held two summits with Mr. Kim, breaking a long-running U.S. practice of not engaging the North Korean personally, but he did not achieve a breakthrough on Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear weapons programs.

At a White House press conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Mr. Biden said the goal of the U.S. “remains complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

“We’re under no illusions about how difficult this is,” the president said. “The past four administrations have not achieved the objective. It’s an incredibility difficult objective.”

Mr. Biden said he would set conditions for any possible meeting with Mr. Kim, including a requirement that the North Korean leader agree upfront to talk about his nuclear arsenal. 

“I would not meet unless there was some outline made … as to how we would proceed,” Mr. Biden said. “I have to know specifics. But the idea of never meeting with North Korea, I would make sure that my team had met with their counterparts, and I would know exactly what we’re meeting on.”

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