Former US President Donald Trump has slammed South Korean President Moon Jae-in after the Korean leader said Trump had "failed" in his nuclear disarmament talks with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
In an interview with The New York Times, Moon said Trump left office without removing a single North Korean nuclear warhead and that Kim had since resumed weapons tests.
"He beat around the bush and failed to pull it through," Moon said of Trump's efforts in North Korea.
Moon lamented that Trump never followed through after declaring that "there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea". Subsequent negotiations went nowhere, Moon said, and Trump left talks with the North Korean leader without an agreement on how to move forward.
Trump, in a statement issued today, responded to the criticism by denouncing Moon for being "weak as a leader and as a negotiator".
"Kim Jong-un of North Korea, who I have gotten to know (and like) under the most trying of circumstances, never respected the current President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in," the Trump statement reads. "I was always the one who stopped the aggression toward the South, but unfortunately for them, I am no longer there."
"President Moon was weak as a leader and as a negotiator, except when it came to the continued, long term military ripoff of the USA (as is the case with many other countries we protect!)," the statement continues.
"We were treated like fools for decades, however, I got them to pay billions of dollars more for the military protection and services we render", Trump said, citing South Korea's commitment to boost payments to host US troops on the peninsula. "The Biden administration is not even going to ask for the additional billions South Korea agreed to pay us."
Moon, in his New York Times interview, said he had higher hopes for the new American administration.
"I hope that [Joe] Biden will go down as a historic president that has achieved substantive and irreversible progress for the complete denuclearisation and peace settlement on the Korean Peninsula," Moon said.
Biden said last month that he was "prepared for some form of diplomacy" with North Korea, but "it has to be conditioned upon the end result of denuclearisation".
Moon suggested a phased approach, like matching US concessions with the demolition of North Korea's only known nuclear test site, could lead to a point where complete denuclearisation becomes "irreversible".
"This dialogue and diplomacy can lead to denuclearisation," he said. "If both sides learn from the failure in Hanoi and put their heads together for more realistic ideas, I am confident that they can find a solution."