Trump: Would meet DPRK leader?

By Zhao Huanxin in Washington | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-05-02 10:50

US President Donald Trump said on Monday that he would meet with Kim Jong Un, the leader of Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), "under the right circumstances", but the White House downplayed the comment by saying that "clearly conditions are not there right now".

"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 on Monday. "Under the right circumstances, I would meet with him."

This was the first time that Trump, who has just passed 100 days of his presidency, opened the door to a future meeting with the DPRK leader. On the campaign trail, he had said he was willing to meet with Kim.

But the president's remarks diverted sharply from recent US talks regarding the Korean Peninsula. On Friday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at the United Nations Security Council Ministerial Session on DPRK that Pyongyang must take concrete steps to reduce the threat to the US and US allies "before we can even consider talks".

"As we have said before, all options for responding to future provocation must remain on the table," Tillerson said.

Trump's comments have left the White House scrambling to explain the US policies and downplay his remarks.

"The key part of the president's statement was 'under the right circumstances' and that is the key. And those circumstances do not exist now," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.

"There's a lot of conditions that I think would have to happen with respect to its behavior and to show signs of good faith. Clearly, conditions are not there right now."

He added, "I don't see this happening anytime soon."

When asked why Trump said he would be "honored" to meet Kim, Spicer said, "I guess because he's still a head of state. So it is sort of - there is a diplomatic piece to this."

Shi Yinhong, director of the Center of US Studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing, noted that Trump made the remarks when the US-Republic of Korea joint drills had just ended, but naval exercises are continuing with a US strike group led by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.

"I'm not sure he was serious when he made the comments," Shi told China Daily by telephone. "His remarks indicated his administration's policy (regarding North Korea) is not clear; there exists confusion."

Beijing, however, has been consistent and clear in its policies in dealing with the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, Shi said.

Beijing has proposed a "two-track approach", namely to make parallel progress on the two tracks of denuclearization and the establishment of a peace mechanism on the peninsula.

In addition to sanctions, the UN resolutions concerning the Korean Peninsula also stress resolving such issues through peaceful manners, avoiding actions that may intensify the situation and resuming the Six-Party talks at an early date, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at the UN Security Council meeting chaired by Tillerson on Friday.

"We must stay committed to the path of dialogue and negotiation," Wang said. "The use of force does not resolve differences, and will only lead to bigger disasters."

As the only way out, dialogue and negotiation also represent the sensible choice for all parties, he said.


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