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Ryan: Trump ‘Disrupted the Status Quo’ with North Korea

House Speaker Paul Ryan addresses a news conference on Capitol Hill, April 11, 2018. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

House speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday that President Trump has “disrupted the status quo” with the dangerous dictatorship of North Korea, a first step to its possible denuclearization.

Ryan was asked on Wednesday whether he thinks North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a “great guy who just wants to do right by his people.”

“The president needed to disrupt the status quo, and the president has disrupted the status quo,” Ryan said, before adding that Trump “should be applauded” for his efforts.

Trump’s highly anticipated Tuesday summit meeting with Kim marked the first time that a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader have met face to face. The two heads of state signed an agreement promising “security guarantees” to the North and stipulating that North Korea would start working toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Trump afterward praised Kim and declared the North “no longer a nuclear threat,” prompting critics to question his warm words for the brutal authoritarian regime in Pyongyang.

The North was racing toward having multiple long-range nuclear weapons, Ryan said, and “it wasn’t going to get any better.” But he also sharply condemned the regime’s harsh treatment of its citizens.

“We should be under no delusion of our experiences with North Korea,” he said. “It’s a terrible regime. They’ve done terrible things. And they’ve been deceitful in the past.”

“Prior administrations have failed to fix this,” he concluded. “Time will tell how this ends.”

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