Trump Says He Doesn’t Know If North Korea Is Building Nuclear Weapons: ‘I Hope Not’

Dominique Mosbergen

US President Donald Trump said he doesn’t know if North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is still building nuclear weapons — but, the U.S. leader noted, “I hope not.”

Speaking to ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos last week about the potential nuclear threat still posed by Pyongyang, Trump waxed lyrical about the “very strong relationship” he’d forged with the “very smart” Kim, who he described as someone who “understands” and “respects me.”

“He’s a very tough guy. He’s a very smart person. He doesn’t treat a lot of people very well, but he’s been treating me well,” the president told Stephanopoulos in a wide-ranging interview that aired Sunday night.

“Now, at some point that may change. And then I’ll have to change, too,” Trump continued. “But right now, we have a very good, you know, relationship. We have a really very strong relationship.”

Asked whether he thought Kim could be “playing” him, Trump told Stephanopoulos that U.S. sanctions were still in place against North Korea and pointed to the return of hostages and war remains as evidence of his administration’s success in dealing with Kim’s regime.

I put on sanctions. The sanctions are on. We’ve gotten our hostages back. We’ve gotten ― the remains. And they continue to come back,” Trump said.

The president’s assertion contradicted a statement made by the U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency last month saying efforts to retrieve American remains from North Korea had been suspended because of the country hasn’t responded.

“DPRK officials have not communicated with DPAA since the Hanoi Summit” between Trump and Kim earlier this year, a spokesman for the agency told CNN. “As a result,...

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