Trump Opens Tokyo Visit With a Tweet Sure to Unnerve the Japanese – The New York Times

Mr. Abe proposed such a meeting after Mr. Trump himself had two summit meetings with Mr. Kim, the second of which, in February in Vietnam, collapsed in disagreement. But the North Korean leader has so far expressed no interest in a meeting with Mr. Abe.

Mr. Trump’s remarks on Sunday were not the first time he has appeared to undercut Mr. Bolton, who often briefs reporters on the administration’s hard-line stances on geopolitical powder kegs like Iran, North Korea and Venezuela, only to find the president walking back his assertions soon after. The two men in recent weeks have also clashed on the administration’s handling of Iran and policy in the Middle East.

“I’m the one who tempers him,” Mr. Trump said this month when reporters asked if he and his national security adviser were aligned on international affairs.

Mr. Trump, in spite of the advice of some of his top aides, has banked on the notion that his personal rapport with Mr. Kim, one of the world’s most brutal dictators, can get him a nuclear disarmament deal that has eluded past presidents.

In his tweet on Sunday, Mr. Trump seemed to take delight in North Korea’s scathing response to a comment last week by Joseph R. Biden Jr. — the Democratic presidential candidate the president is most concerned about — that branded Mr. Kim a “tyrant.”

Mr. Trump said he had smiled when the North Koreans “called Swampman Joe Bidan a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?” Mr. Trump misspelled Mr. Biden’s name in the tweet, though it was corrected in a later message.

For his part, Mr. Abe has bet on maintaining a close relationship with the American president in order to mitigate the North Korean danger and ward off a threat from the Trump administration to impose stiff auto tariffs.


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