A Joe Biden administration would only meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if he would pledge to reduce his nuclear capacity, the former vice president said in the second and final presidential debate on Thursday, arguing the Korean Peninsula should be a nuclear-free zone.
This would mark a return to a more traditional foreign policy and a shift away from President Donald Trump’s unconventional path of building a personal relationship with Kim to tame Pyongyang.
Trump argued that he had de-escalated tensions, saying his predecessor Barack Obama had left the peninsula on the brink of war. “Having a good relationship with leaders is a good thing,” Trump said, adding that the Obama administration also attempted to meet with Kim but failed because the North Korean leader “didn’t like Obama.”
The exchange on North Korea was one of the highlights of the debate, which came with less than two weeks until election day.
Held at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, the debate was moderated by Kristen Welker of NBC News, who selected fighting COVID-19, American families, race in America, climate change, national security and leadership as topics.
The roughly 90-minute face-off came more than three weeks after the rivals’ first. The Oct. 15 second debate was canceled after Trump refused a virtual format even following his COVID-19 diagnosis.