North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is "not insane," asserted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday.
During an interview on Fox News, Tillerson was asked by host Bret Baier whether he thinks Kim is "unstable" and not able to make reasonable decisions.
"All indications, Bret, by intelligence agencies, and there have been a number of independent psychologists who have done analysis as best they can, all indications are that he is not crazy," Tillerson replied.
He went on to explain how little he thinks of Kim, despite not agreeing the man is "crazy."
"He may be ruthless. He may be a murderer. He may be someone who in many respects we would say by our standards is irrational. But he is not insane," Tillerson said.
As of late 2016, Kim has executed over 300 people since coming to power in 2011. Kim also has a grim human rights record. According to Human Rights Watch's "Word Report 2016," Kim in 2015 "continued to intensify repression, increased control over the North Korean border with China to prevent North Koreans from escaping and seeking refuge overseas, and tightened restrictions on freedom of movement inside the country."
Kim is also suspected of ordering the killing of his half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, earlier this year at an airport in Malaysia, according to South Korean intelligence.
In a separate interview with NPR, Tillerson said it is the preference of the Trump administration to have direct talks with the North Korean regime to end its nuclear weapons program
"Obviously that will be the way we would like to solve this," he said. "But North Korea has to decide they're ready to talk to us about the about the right agenda and the right agenda is not simply stopping where they are for a few more months or a few more years and then resuming things. That's been the agenda for the last 20 years."
His comment came one day after he and other members of President Trump's national security team briefed all 100 senators with an update on the "urgent threat" posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
Administration officials have said sanctions are a more likely course of action to press North Korea back to the negotiating table, but also stressed that military strikes are still an option.
He was also asked on Thursday if he thinks Kim is rational.
"He's 27 years old. His father dies, took over a regime. So say what you want but that is not easy, especially at that age," Trump told Reuters. "I'm not giving him credit or not giving him credit, I'm just saying that's a very hard thing to do. As to whether or not he's rational, I have no opinion on it. I hope he's rational."
Trump also warned there is a chance of "a major, major conflict with North Korea," but said he would prefer to "solve things diplomatically but it's very difficult."