North Korea's Kim Jong Un 'Is Actually Pretty Clever' Says Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice, who was secretary of state under former President George W. Bush, has said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has turned out to be a smarter operator on the international stage than she expected.

Rice, who dealt with Kim Jong Un’s father Kim Jong Il before his death in 2011, added that while she believed the North Korean leader had proved himself to be capable in dealing with South Korea, he was also isolated.

Related: North Korea's Kim Jong Un chooses nuclear program birthplace for first outing of 2018

“Kim Jong Un is turning out, much more so than I thought, to be actually pretty clever," Rice said in an interview with CNN.

She said Kim’s decision to reopen lines of communications with South Korea in recent weeks—the first time the two nations have engaged in direct exchange in two years—and his agreement to send a North Korean delegation to the Winter Olympics, had been a smart move.

GettyImages-802925642 Dr. Condoleezza Rice chats with guests at the KPMG Women's Leadership Summit prior to the start of the 2017 KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club on June 28, 2017; the former secretary of state has said she believes the North Korean leader is pretty smart. Scott Halleran/Getty Images for KPMG

"The approach to the South Koreans was clever; the decision to go to the Olympics is clever," Rice said. "I think he is more isolated than his father was. Perhaps certainly more reckless.”

“I wonder sometimes if he really believes it when he says, 'I can destroy the United States,' because anybody who tells [him] something he doesn't want to hear seems to get killed," the former secretary of state added, explaining that threats of murder were “a real disincentive to tell him the truth."

Rice also addressed President Donald Trump’s tweets concerning the U.S.’s fractious relationship with North Korea and the nuclear threat from Pyongyang. Earlier this month, Trump tweeted that while Kim Jong Un might have a nuclear button, his own nuclear button was “much bigger & more powerful.”

"I've been no fan of the tweets, the policy by tweets," Rice said. "I've been no fan of that, but I also think it didn't deserve—square column inches of analysis."

Rice added that she did not believe Trump’s tweets about North Korea had made nuclear war more likely.

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