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Donald Trump says his saber-rattling brought Kim Jong-un to the bargaining table

June 12, 2018 GMT

President Trump said Tuesday there was a method to his “fire and fury” madness with North Korea.

In an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News, Mr. Trump said he’s certain that his warlike rhetoric last year against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un convinced Mr. Kim to negotiate over giving up his nuclear weapons.

“I think without the rhetoric, we wouldn’t have been here,” Mr. Trump said. “I really believe that.”

As North Korea was conducting multiple missile tests last year and threatening to attack the U.S., Mr. Trump responded with rhetoric that was unusually aggressive for a U.S. leader. He taunted Mr. Kim as “little rocket man,” and warned that the U.S. would “totally destroy” North Korea.

“I hated to do it,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Hannity. “Sometimes I felt foolish doing it. But we had no choice.”

He said previous administrations “had a policy of silence.”

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“If they [North Korea] said something very bad and very threatening, even horrible just don’t answer,” he said of previous administrations. “That’s not the answer. That’s not what you have to do. We did sanctions and all of the things you would do, but without the rhetoric...we wouldn’t have been here.”