North Korea accepted South Korea's proposal for official talks
Trump appeared to take credit for the meetings
President Donald Trump told reporters Saturday at Camp David that he’s open to talking with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“Sure, I always believe in talking,” he said. “But we have a very firm stance. Look, our stance, you know what it is. We’re very firm. But I would be, absolutely I would do that. I don’t have a problem with that at all.”
When asked by a reporter if that meant Trump doesn’t need any prerequisites to meeting with North Korea, Trump said that wasn’t what he meant.
“It’s not what I said at all,” he responded. “(Kim) knows I’m not messing around. I’m not messing around. Not even a little bit. Not even 1%. He understands that. At the same time, if we can come up with a very peaceful and very good solution, we’re working on it … with a lot of people.”
Trump added: “If something can happen and something can come out of those talks, that would be a great thing for all of humanity. That would be a great thing for the world. Very important.”
The President’s comments come amid heightening tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, with Trump tweeting earlier this week that his nuclear button is “bigger and more powerful” the Kim’s. The tweet follows the North Korean leader’s remarks in a New Year’s Day address that “(t)he entire mainland of the US is within the range of our nuclear weapons. …”
On Saturday, Trump also praised South Korea for its efforts to open communication with North Korea in an effort to improve relations, including discussion of the participation of North Korean athletes in the Winter Olympics.
“President Moon (Jae-in) called me and we had a great discussion a couple of days ago, and he thanked me very much, and I hope it works out. I very much want to see it work out between the two countries,” Trump said, referring to North Korea accepting South Korea’s proposal for official talks in what will be the first high-level contact between the two countries in more than two years.
“I’d like to see them getting involved in the Olympics and maybe things go from there. So, I’m behind that 100%,” Trump said.
South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun told reporters Friday that North Korea informed Seoul by fax that it has accepted the offer to initiate talks.
The person-to-person talks will be held Tuesday – the day after Kim’s birthday – at the Peace House in the village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone.
Trump appeared to give himself credit for the meeting during his press conference with reporters.
“A lot of people have said, a lot of people have written, that without my rhetoric, without my tough stance – and it’s not just a stance, I mean, this is what has to be done, if it has to be done – that they wouldn’t be talking about Olympics, they wouldn’t be talking right now,” he said. “I’d love to see them take it beyond the Olympics. … At the appropriate time, we’ll get involved.”
CNN’s Noah Gray contributed to this report.