Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said Friday that North and South Korea are nearing peace because of the pressure President Donald Trump exerted on Kim Jong Un, adding that if a peace agreement materializes, the president should receive the Nobel Peace Price.
Trump imposed sanctions on North Korea and publicly warned Kim to end his nuclear ambitions or face "fire and fury," and widespread criticism followed. In light of the pending denuclearization deal between North and South Korea, however, Graham credited Trump for forcing Kim to the bargaining table.
Recent Stories in National Security
"Here's the deal: It wouldn't have happened without Trump," Graham told "Fox and Friends" in an interview at the University of South Carolina. "It may not happen, but it’d be the biggest change since the end of the hostilities, the fact that the North Korean and South Korean president met and they vow to end the war."
Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met and pledged on Friday to work with the United States and China toward an official end to the 1950s Korean war and the "complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula."
"Donald Trump convinced North Korea and China he was serious about bringing about change," Graham added. "We're not there yet, but if this happens, President Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize."
Graham explicitly credited Trump’s strategy of maximum pressure on Kim, and he said North Korea will provoke the United States if they try to build intercontinental ballistic missiles again.
"All the criticism of President Trump on ‘fire and fury' and maximum pressure—I'm glad he didn't listen to all those who failed before him," Graham said. "He has convinced North Korea, you got two options: You can become a normal country or we will take you down if you keep trying to build missiles to hit the American homeland."
Graham continued with this point by saying Trump is serious about stopping North Korea’s nuclear program even if it involves military intervention.
"They believe in North Korea if he had to, as a last resort, he would stop their nuclear program," Graham said. "We are not there yet, but if we get there, it will be because of President Trump. A word of warning: The worst thing Kim Jong Un could do is play Trump. To go through all these motions and go back to the old way of doing business, Donald Trump will not tolerate being played."
"We're either going to have peace or we're going to have a war now because Kim Jong Un has made a mistake if he is not serious, and that's playing Trump," Graham concluded.
Trump himself did not take credit for the deal, noting "time will tell" if it leads to actual peace, but he did say the U.S. should be "proud" of what is taking place.