Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham once urged President Donald Trump to encourage China to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and replace him with a general they could control, according to veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s new book.
Woodward said Graham posed the idea to Trump during a meeting at the White House with the president’s national security team in September 2017. The meeting came at the height of the war of words between Trump and Kim over North Korea’s nuclear program, and not long after the president had dubbed the North Korean leader “Little Rocket Man.”
“China needs to kill him and replace him with a North Korean general they control,” Graham said at the time, according to Woodward.
Graham added: “I think the Chinese are clearly the key here and they need to take him out. Not us, them. And control the nuclear inventory there. And wind this thing down. Or control him. To stop the march to a big nuclear arsenal. My fear is that he will sell it.”
Graham’s office declined to comment when contacted by Business Insider.
Such an approach would’ve been decidedly more aggressive than the one Trump ultimately adopted, which saw him hold a historic summit with Kim in Singapore in June. At the summit, North Korea pledged to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Since that time, there have been few signs North Korea has lived up to its end of the agreement, and there’s been significant back and forth between Washington and Pyongyang.
According to recent intelligence, North Korea is privately continuing its nuclear activities but publicly attempting to appear cooperative. The North Korean government, for example, recently excluded intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs, from its annual military parade. In the past, it often used the parade as an opportunity to show off new missiles or technology.
“North Korea has just staged their parade, celebrating 70th anniversary of founding, without the customary display of nuclear missiles… This is a big and very positive statement from North Korea. Thank you To Chairman Kim. We will both prove everyone wrong!” Trump tweeted.
The White House on Monday said Kim recently wrote to Trump and suggested they hold a follow-up summit.