In an exclusive interview with Reuters, President Trump said on Wednesday that Russia is helping North Korea get supplies in violation of international sanctions and that Pyongyang is getting “closer every day” to being able to deliver a long-range missile to the United States. As a result, Trump said he hoped the standoff with Pyongyang could be resolved “in a peaceful way, but it’s very possible that it can’t.”
Having learned his lesson from his recent WSJ interview, Trump declined to comment when asked whether he had engaged in any communications at all with Kim, with whom he has exchanged public insults and threats, heightening tensions in the region. He did, however, blame Moscow:
“Russia is not helping us at all with North Korea,” Trump said during the Oval Office interview. “What China is helping us with, Russia is denting. In other words, Russia is making up for some of what China is doing.”
Which is ironic because it was a Chinese, not Russian ship, that was recently observed illegally selling oil to North Korea. It’s even more ironic that in the interview, Trump praised China for its efforts to restrict oil and coal supplies to North Korea but said Beijing could do much more to help constrain Pyongyang.