President Donald Trump called North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un “a pretty smart cookie” during an interview that aired Sunday on CBS News' "Face The Nation."
During the interview, host John Dickerson asked Trump what he thinks about the ruler of the Hermit Kingdom.
“I have — I really, you know, — have no comment on him,” Trump said. “People are saying, 'Is he sane?' I have no idea. I can tell you this, and a lot of people don't like when I say it, but he was a young man of 26 or 27 when he took over from his father, when his father died. He's dealing with obviously very tough people, in particular the generals and others.”
Trump said Kim Jong Un, now 33, “was able to assume power” at “a very young age.”
“A lot of people, I'm sure, tried to take that power away, whether it was his uncle or anybody else, and he was able to do it,” Trump said. “So obviously, he's a pretty smart cookie.”
Pivoting to recent threats made by North Korea against the United States and its interests, Trump said, “we cannot let what's been going on for a long period of years continue,” arguing that North Korea “should've been taken care of” by one of the three previous American presidents.
Asked about potential military action against North Korea, Trump did not dismiss the possibility.
“We'll see what happens,” he said.
The BBC noted that the North Korean dictator ordered the execution of his uncle two years after he came to power. He also allegedly ordered the murder of his half-brother. According to reports, Kim Jong Un has dealt with generals who have displeased him even in minor ways by publicly executing them with anti-aircraft guns. One general was allegedly executed in this fashion for the offense of falling asleep during a staff meeting.
The brutal communist North Korean regime imprisons citizens it deems dissidents in forced labor camps, although Pyongyang denies the camps exist.
The interview aired a day after South Korean and U.S. officials said North Korea test-launched a short-range ballistic missile.
President Trump calls North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “a pretty smart cookie” pic.twitter.com/CrvVCMYc9C
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) April 30, 2017