Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said North Korea is a "funny country" that is good at making bombs and missiles, but unable to feed its people, and its leader Kim Jong-un appears to be "more militant than his father and grandfather."
- Clinton made the remark in an interview with PBS's Charlie Rose Tuesday night, saying he "worked very hard" with former Defense Secretary and North Korea policy coordinator William Perry and then Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili to prevent a nuclear-armed North Korea.
- Clinton said, "I worked very hard to avert this when I was president. And my former defense secretary, Bill Perry, and General John Shalikashvili ... They went there and said, you know, this can't happen, and so we worked very hard to avoid it with some success."
- The former president declined to discuss what the North Korea policy of his wife Hillary Clinton would look like, saying he wants her to speak for herself. But he added that the Democratic presidential nominee has suggested that the U.S. should toughen the sanctions and try to get the support of Russia and China.
- "North Korea is, it's a funny country. That is, they're good at making missiles and bombs, and they can't bring in a rice crop," Clinton said. "They believe that you, and the news media, and those of us who are in the political world, all over the world, that all of us, we never think about them unless they misbehave."
BILL CLINTON OVERSAW THE FIRST NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR CRISIS
It was when Clinton was in office that the first North Korean nuclear crisis erupted in 1993. The standoff deteriorated to a point where Clinton considered a military strike on the North, but was defused with a 1994 deal in which the North agreed to free and ultimately dismantle its nuclear program in exchange for political and economic concessions.
That deal, known as "Agreed Framework," however, unravelled with the outbreak of the second nuclear crisis in 2012 after the communist nation was found to have been running a clandestine program to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.
In 2009, the former president visited the North on a mission to bring home two female American journalists detained in the communist nation. During the visit, Clinton also met with then North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, father of the current leader.