A CIA report on North Korea’s Kim Jong Un may have influenced President Donald Trump’s approach to Pyongyang, according to a Japanese press report.
The Asahi Shimbun reported Thursday the report from the CIA’s Korea Mission Center was given to Trump in the fall of 2017, after the president had threatened to deliver “fire and fury” to “little rocket man” Kim Jong Un.
The CIA report concluded the North Korean leader was ready to make a deal and that Kim held Western culture in high regard and maintained a deep enthusiasm for the world outside his borders.
The report also stated Kim would be easier to negotiate with than past North Korean leaders, and the possibility remains the United States could win him over, according to the Asahi.
The CIA profile of Kim was assembled using information collected from people who have encountered him, including a classmate in Switzerland, NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman and Kenji Fujimoto, the Japanese national and former chef to Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il.
Trump’s change of tone on Nov. 11, 2017, could be a reflection of his response to the report.
After weeks of tensions, Trump tweeted that he “tries so hard to be his friend.”
“Maybe someday that will happen!” he had said.
The report also came before Trump made the critical decision in March to hold the summit, after being briefed by visiting South Korean officials on their recent trip to Pyongyang.
Presidential aides had said the decision was immature, but Trump reportedly brushed aside their concerns.
Trump’s friendlier approach to North Korea has been criticized — national security adviser John Bolton has admonished Pyongyang and raised North Korean concerns with the suggestions of a Libyan model of denuclearization.
Bolton is accompanying the president to the Singapore summit, although he has yet to hold a Cabinet-level meeting to discuss the summit, Politico reported.
The engagement with North Korea is not being welcomed in all corners of the South.
Hong Jun-pyo, leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, said Thursday if North Korea evolves into a Pakistan-style nuclear state, Seoul should also turn to nuclear weapons development, the JoongAng Ilbo reported.
By Elizabeth Shim