Politics

Trump Considers Meet With N. Korea Leader Kim Jong Un

| by Alex Scarr

U.S. President Donald Trump said on May 1 that he hasn't ruled out a visit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Trump said that the theoretical summit would have to be under "appropriate" circumstances.

Kim has never met with a foreign leader since taking office after his father's death, nor has he left North Korea.

"If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it," Trump said. "If it’s under the, again, under the right circumstances. But I would do that."

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Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have escalated since Trump assumed the presidency in January, particularly after North Korea's insistence on the continuation of nuclear missile tests. In April remarks to the United Nations, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the U.S. would only negotiate with Kim's regime if it made a concerted effort to reduce North Korea's nuclear arms and scale back testing.

North Korea has continued to bulk up its nuclear arsenal, with some experts suggesting that the country has both the capability and resources to develop a nuclear warhead that could reach the U.S. mainland by 2020.

The Trump administration took a hard stance against North Korea in January 2017, saying the U.S. would ensure North Korea was never able to create a weapon with enough range to reach American soil. North Korea has criticized U.S. military action in the region, calling it "intimidation and blackmail."

North Korea conducted another missile test on April 28 after the previous test failed, according to CNBC. That test was also a failure, as the missile exploded just moments after launch.

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Trump was critical of the move on Twitter, saying North Korea had "disrespected the wishes of China and its highly respected president."

In a CBS interview on April 30, Trump left open the possibility of military intervention should North Korea proceed with another nuclear test.

"[Kim's] going to have to do what he has to do. But he understands we're not going to be very happy. And I will tell you, a man that I've gotten to like and respect -- the president of China, President Xi -- I believe has been putting pressure on him also," Trump told CBS.

When questioned further on what that "unhappiness" might mean, Trump was noncommittal regarding the idea of installing a military presence, saying: "I don't know. I mean, we'll see."

Sources: Bloomberg, CNBC, CBS News / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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