President Trump seemed to indicate that his relationship with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un may be different than it appears in the media, according to statements made to the Wall Street Journal this week.

Throughout months of President Donald Trump seeming to undermine the diplomatic efforts of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson when it comes to opening a dialogue with North Korea, many have questioned whether or not the two men were operating with the same intent. Each time Tillerson appeared to extend an olive branch to Kim Jong Un’s North Korean regime, it would almost immediately be countered by a White House statement emphasizing America’s hard-line toward the Asian nation, leaving some to assume that one of two things must be going on within the Trump administration: either Trump and Tillerson are moving in separate directions and not in active communications with one another… or there’s a broader strategy in play.

“I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un,” President Trump told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday. “I have relationships with people. I think you people are surprised.”

When asked about President Trump’s fiery tweets directed at the North Korean leader, he seemed dismissive of his own aggressive rhetoric.
“You’ll see that a lot with me,” the President said of his tweets, “and then all of the sudden somebody’s my best friend. I could give you 20 examples. You could give me 30. I’m a very flexible person.”

Then when asked directly if he had already spoken to Kim, Trump replied, “I don’t want to comment on it. I’m not saying I have or haven’t. I just don’t want to comment.”

There is truth to what he had to say. Throughout his campaign, President Trump took an exceptionally hard stance toward China, particularly regarding trade deals between America and the industrial giant, even going so far as to use words like “rape” to characterize the international relationship. Once he met with Chinese President Xi, however, his tune changed dramatically – often tweeting about his cooperation with China, and even claiming those same “predatory” trade practices employed by China were America’s fault for allowing them to happen.

“I don’t blame China,” Trump said in his remarks to business leaders during his Chinese visit. “After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for benefit of their citizens? I give China great credit.”

One could tell a similar story about NATO. Leading up to his presidency, Trump drew fire for calling NATO nations out for failing to meet their financial commitments (despite President Obama doing the same only months prior). He also called the organization obsolete. Once in office, however, Trump’s stance on the alliance has softened as well.