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Trump says he's open to meeting Kim Jong-un

The US President’s latest comments are much more measured than his previous “fire and fury” remarks.

Trump delivers a speech at the US Yokota Air Base on the outskirts of Tokyo today
Trump delivers a speech at the US Yokota Air Base on the outskirts of Tokyo today
Image: Eugene Hoshiko/AP/Press Association Images

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has said he would “certainly be open” to meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

He made the comments in an interview broadcast today as he began an extended Asian tour.

Asked by journalist Sharyl Attkisson, host of the Full Measure TV show, whether he would “ever consider sitting down with the dictator”, Trump said he was holding meetings with numerous Asian leaders.

“I would sit down with anybody,” he said. “I don’t think it’s strength or weakness, I think sitting down with people is not a bad thing.

So I would certainly be open to doing that but we’ll see where it goes, I think we’re far too early.

Trump’s conciliatory-sounding comment came after months of fiery exchanges between the two leaders, prompted by a series of internationally condemned nuclear and missile tests by North Korea.

The North has denounced Trump as a “mentally deranged US dotard” or senile old man, and the country’s ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun today referred to him as unstable.

Trump, for his part, has mocked Kim as “Little Rocket Man” and has vowed to rain “fire and fury” down on the North if it threatens the US or its allies.

War of words 

Trump’s latest comments appeared to be something of a reversal from a Twitter message he sent just over a month ago, in which he said that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with the North Korean leader.

The war of words has been deeply unsettling for US allies in the region, which include Japan, where Trump met Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today, and South Korea, where he is to meet President Moon Jae-In on Tuesday.

Trump is due to travel to China on Wednesday, Vietnam on Friday and the Philippines on Sunday.

The interview was broadcast as a letter by the US Defense Department emerged that said the only way to locate and secure all North Korea’s nuclear weapons sites would be via a US ground invasion.

The two-page document was addressed to Ted W Lieu, a Democratic member of Congress, in response to a request regarding “expected casualty assessments in a conflict with North Korea”.

“The only way to ‘locate and destroy — with complete certainty — all components of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs’ is through a ground invasion” it said.

It added “a classified briefing is the best venue for a detailed discussion” of such a plan.

© AFP 2017

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