In a Monday interview, President Trump said he would meet with North Korea’s rogue leader Kim Jong Un “under the right circumstances.”
“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it,” Trump told Bloomberg News. “If it’s under the, again, under the right circumstances. But I would do that.”
Diplomatic relations between the United States and North Korea are currently non-existent, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson contending at the United Nations last week that the U.S. would not negotiate with North Korea unless it made verifiable moves toward relinquishing its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
“Most political people would never say that,” Trump said about the prospect of a meeting between himself and Kim, “but I’m telling you, under the right circumstances, I would meet with him. We have breaking news.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer later remarked on Trump’s statements saying that “clearly conditions are not there right now” for a meeting. Spicer said “we’ve got to see their provocative behavior ratcheted down.”
North Korea has quickly emerged as the most urgent national security threat and foreign policy issue challenging the Trump administration. Despite international condemnation and sanctions, North Korea has continued to pursue its nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile program. According to military analysts, Kim’s regime is slated to develop a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile that could reach the U.S. mainland as soon as 2020.
Since assuming power in 2011 following his father’s death, Kim has not met with a foreign leader nor left North Korea.
Trump did not specify under which conditions he would meet with Kim. Evans Revere, a former U.S. diplomat in South Korea and a senior adviser at the Albright Stonebridge Group in Washington, said “it’s almost impossible to imagine North Korea meeting the conditions that would allow such a meeting to occur.”
“North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty when it was caught cheating, violated every one of the denuclearization commitments it made, and now threatens the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons,” Revere said. “That’s hardly the basis for a presidential meeting with Kim Jong Un.”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer responded to questions about the matter on Monday:
Trump also addressed the possibility of meeting with Kim Jong-Un at a rally during his presidential campaign:
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