Trump would be ‘honoured’ to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ‘under right circumstances’
US President Donald Trump said he would meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “under the right circumstances” and defended his decision to invite Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte as part of a military strategy.
Trump made the comments in an interview with Bloomberg News, which didn’t define conditions Pyongyang would need to meet in order to pave the way for a meeting between the two leaders.
“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with [Kim Jong-un], I would absolutely, I would be honoured to do it,” Bloomberg quoted Trump as saying in an interview on Monday. “If it’s under the, again, under the right circumstances. But I would do that.”
Speaking to reporters later on Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said conditions that would allow Trump to meet Kim Jong-un would include a complete dismantling of his country’s nuclear capability.
“The key part of the President’s statement was ‘under the right circumstances,’ ... and those circumstances do not exist now”, Spicer said. “We want to hold out the possibility that if North Korea were ever serious about completely dismantling its nuclear capability and taking away the threat that they pose both to the region and to us that there is always going to be a possibility of that occurring.”
On Friday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pressed members of the United Nations Security Council that North Korea must take concrete steps to reduce the threat that its illegal weapons programmes pose to the United States and our allies before we can even consider talks.”
North Korea defied Tillerson, who called the country’s efforts to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles “the most pressing security issue in the world,” by conducting a missile test just hours after the top US diplomat spoke at the UN.
Trump also defended his invitation to Duterte, who has come under fire for an intense drug campaign that has killed thousands of Filipinos.
“The Philippines is very important to me strategically and militarily,” Trump said in the Bloomberg interview.
Answering reporters questions about Trump’s invitation to Duterte, Spicer said: “I think it is an opportunity for us to work with countries in that region that can help play a role in diplomatically and economically isolating North Korea.”