U.S. President Donald Trump was clearly off the track in blaming a trio of his predecessors for failing to rein in North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un.
Trump, who has traded insults and threats with Kim in recent weeks amid escalating tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, tweeted that his White House predecessors, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, had all ”failed“ on North Korea by ”Being nice to Rocket Man,”
However, the fact of history was that Trump's “Little Rocket Man” came to power in 2011, during the first term of President Barack Obama.
Kim succeeded his father, Kim Jong Il, as North Korean leader in 2011, during Obama's administration. Previous presidents, Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr. negotiated with Kim Jong II, not Kim Jong Un.
All the previous leaders however ultimately failed to prevent North Korea from pressing ahead with its internationally condemned weapons programs.
Trump had dismissed the prospect of talks with North Korea as a waste of time a day after his own secretary of state said the United States was maintaining open lines of communication with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” Trump wrote on Twitter, using his sarcastic nickname for Kim and seeming to contradict the top U.S. diplomat.
“So why would it work now?” he asked.
Tillerson disclosed that the United States was directly communicating with North Korea on its nuclear and missile programs but that Pyongyang had shown no interest in dialogue.
“Save your energy Rex, we'll do what has to be done!” Trump said.
Tillerson said during a trip to China that the United States had multiple direct channels of communication with Pyongyang, the first such disclosure from the Trump administration, and that it was probing North Korea to see whether it was interested in dialogue.
Tillerson expressed hope for reducing tensions with North Korea, which is fast advancing toward its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.
“We are probing, so stay tuned,” Tillerson told a small group of reporters. “We ask: 'Would you like to talk?'” He said the United States had “a couple of, three channels open to Pyongyang.”
A senior Trump administration official, asked for clarification about Trump's tweets, played down the significance of the communication channels