A North Korean defector said Thursday after meeting Donald Trump at the White House that Kim Jong Un is not worthy of the US president’s extravagant praise.
Kim ‘doesn’t deserve all those compliments,’ Grace Jo told reporters.
Trump has frequently, lavishly praised Kim, talking of their close friendship and even ‘love’ as he tries to persuade the North Korean leader to end his growing nuclear weapons program.
Jo, who escaped the North after losing most of her family to repression and starvation, met with Trump as part of the White House’s commemoration of National Day for the Victims of Communism.
She said afterwards that she thinks Trump doesn’t really mean it when he speaks so warmly of Kim.
‘I think that’s more of a politics (thing),’ she said, speculating that Trump was just trying to be ‘very nice’ and ‘polite.’
‘I don’t think he spoke that, like nice words towards Kim Jong Un, as genuine, true feeling,’ she said.
‘If he really compliments Kim Jong Un in (those) words and that’s really true, then I don’t really agree on that one,’ she said.
Jo said Thursday that she lost three members of her family to starvation in the 1990s and that her father was killed by the authorities.
She said the rest of her family made four attempts to escape to China but was sent back each time before she ultimately reached the United States in 2008 and became a citizen.
‘After I came to America, I learned how we can live as a human being and I feel like, wow, this freedom is amazing,’ she said.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Asia