US President Donald Trump wished North Korea’s Kim Jong Un a happy birthday, Seoul said Friday — with nuclear talks deadlocked and six years after former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman serenaded Pyongyang’s leader.
North Korea has never officially confirmed Kim’s age or date of birth, but Rodman’s breathy Marilyn Monroe-style performance of “Happy Birthday” took place before an exhibition basketball match in Pyongyang on January 8, 2014.
In a sanctions document, the US Treasury has said Kim was born on that day in 1984, which would make him 36, but there is speculation he could be a year or two older.
Seoul’s national security adviser Chung Eui-yong met Trump in Washington on Wednesday and said the former real estate mogul — who in warmer times proclaimed he and Kim had fallen in love — “recalled” it was his birthday.
“President Trump wished Chairman Kim Jong Un a happy birthday and asked President Moon to convey it to him,” Chung told reporters as he arrived back in South Korea on Friday.
The message was delivered “in an appropriate manner”, he added, without explaining how it had been transmitted.
Contacts between the two Koreas are at a standstill, with Pyongyang’s official media repeatedly excoriating the leadership in Seoul.
At a meeting of his ruling party in December, Kim declared an end to Pyongyang’s moratoriums on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests and threatened a demonstration of a “new strategic weapon” soon.
Trump and Kim have had three meetings since June 2018 but there has been little tangible progress in denuclearising North Korea.
At the 2014 event, Rodman, a heavily tattooed former NBA All-Star, sang the birthday song before the North Korean leader and his wife Ri Sol Ju, as the crowd clapped along.
It was Rodman’s fourth visit to North Korea and he appeared to bow to Kim.
Fox & Friends floats impeachment conspiracy theory about GAO findings of Trump crimes against Ukraine
"Fox & Friends" assured viewers they could ignore a federal watchdog agency's findings that President Donald Trump broke the law by withholding Ukraine aid.
The nonpartisan the Government Accountability Office found the White House Office of Management and Budget violated the law by freezing $400 million in congressionally approved military aid, but the Fox News hosts suggested the agency was only trying to hurt the president.
"Do you think it's just a coincidence that that news would drop exactly the same day the (impeachment) trial started?" said co-host Steve Doocy.
Co-hosts Pete Hegseth and Ainsley Earhardt agreed, and accepted administration denials at face value.
GOP senators are questioning allegiance to Trump as impeachment becomes a reality: Morning Joe panel
According to members of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" panel, Donald Trump may see more defections by previously supportive Republican senators now that the impeachment of the president has become a reality and their conduct will be scrutinized by voters back home.
Speaking with columnist David Ignatius, host Joe Scarborough noted that multiple Republican senators -- including several who are retiring -- are going soft on defending the president and may be inclined to allowing multiple witnesses who could damage the president.
"David Ignatius, you know, we've known Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) both of us, for a long time. and as they coming to the end of their careers," Scarborough began. "I would think [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell would be concerned that these gentlemen would vote their conscience and not just blindly follow Donald Trump and would vote to have a fair, open hearing and trial and get this new evidence that's coming in, that's come in since the House impeached."
Iran’s supreme leader says Trump is a ‘clown’ who will betray Iranians
Iran’s supreme leader said President Donald Trump is a “clown” who only pretends to support the Iranian people but will “push a poisonous dagger” into their backs, as he struck a defiant tone in his first Friday sermon in Tehran in eight years.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the mass funerals for Iran’s top general, who was killed in a US airstrike earlier this month, show that the Iranian people support the Islamic Republic despite its recent trials. He said the “cowardly” killing of Soleimani had taken out the most effective commander in the battle against the Islamic State group.