President Donald Trump took credit Thursday for recently renewed communications between North Korea and South Korea.
“With all of the failed ‘experts’ weighing in, does anybody really believe that talks and dialogue would be going on between North and South Korea right now if I wasn’t firm, strong and willing to commit our total ‘might’ against the North,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning.
He added, “Fools, but talks are a good thing!”
On Wednesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gave the order to establish contact with the South on a hotline between the two countries that had been dormant for almost two years – a major diplomatic breakthrough following a year of escalating hostility and a move that could pave the way for future talks.
According to South Korea’s Unification Ministry, the North made first contact at exactly the time ordered, and the sides were on the phone from 3:30 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. South Korean time.
During the initial connection, the two nations “checked technical issues of the communication line,” according to a statement from the ministry.
The ministry said North Korea phoned for a second time several hours later on the Panmunjom hotline, suggesting the two sides wrap up business for the day.
On Thursday, the two sides exchange three more calls. During one of them, the South asked the North if they had any news. The North responded, “No, we will notify you when there is something new,” and the call ended, the ministry said in a statement.
In another phone call on Thursday, Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed not to hold joint military drills during the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang in February, South Korea’s presidential office said.
Trump’s claim of credit for diplomacy between the two countries came two days after he tried to taunt the North Korean leader on Twitter, criticizing the size of Kim’s “nuclear button” in comparison the US president’s and causing an international outcry.
Trump has taken a hard stance against North Korea, and in October, he said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” a reference to the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un.
“Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!” Trump tweeted at the time.
CNN’s Eli Watkins, Taehoon Lee, Hilary Whiteman, and Lauren Said-Moorhouse contributed to this report.