|U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with reporters as he walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Washington. AP|
U.S. President Donald Trump insisted his country could have been in a nuclear war with North Korea if he had not been elected four years ago.
"Everybody said because of my personality, they said he'll be in a war immediately," Trump said of his election four years ago in a town hall event hosted by U.S. television network ABC. "Look at North Korea, how that's worked."
Trump has often argued his engagement and good relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is what prevented what many believed to be an imminent war with the communist North.
"If President Obama were president, if Hillary Clinton ever got in, there would be a war. We would have a war, probably a nuclear war with North Korea," Trump said.
In his new book, "Rage," Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward quoted Trump as saying that the U.S. had been much closer to a war with the North in 2017 than anyone had imagined.
The Watergate reporter also quoted the North Korean leader as telling Trump that he too thought a war with the U.S. was imminent and that he was fully prepared to go.
U.S.-North Korea tension peaked in late 2017, when Pyongyang test launched intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching most parts of the U.S. after it staged its sixth and most powerful nuclear test yet in September that year.
Woodward said in the book that the U.S. had then even considered the possibility of using nuclear weapons to counter a possible North Korean attack.
Trump said he gets along with Kim and that he is getting calls all the time from his "friends in South Korea" who are thankful, apparently for preventing a war with North Korea.
Trump and Kim met three times between June 2018 and June 2019, but their talks have stalled since, along with U.S.-North Korea denuclearization talks. (Yonhap)