Only weeks after it appeared President Donald Trump was steering the United States toward a military conflict with North Korea, a North Korean diplomat has said it might be time to talk.
“We’ll have dialogue if the conditions are there,” Choi Son Hui, head of U.S. affairs for the North Korean foreign ministry, said Saturday.
Trump, who has said he will use every means at his disposal to end North Korea’s aggressive nuclear program, first mentioned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a May 1 interview.
“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.”
“Most political people would never say that, but I’m telling you under the right circumstances I would meet with him. We have breaking news,” Trump said then.
That followed comments made to Reuters about Kim.
“He’s 27 years old, his father dies, took over a regime, so say what you want but that’s not easy, especially at that age,” Trump said. “You know you have plenty of generals in there and plenty of other people that would like to do what he’s doing. So I’ve said this before and I’ve, I’m just telling you, and I’m not giving him credit or not giving him credit. I’m just saying that’s a very hard thing to do.”
At the time, a U.S. carrier group was approaching the Korean Peninsula and Trump was working to have China put diplomatic pressure on North Korea to get the nation to stop its development of a nuclear weapons program.
South Korea’s new president has also said he’ll talk to North Korea.
“I will quickly move to solve the crisis in national security. I am willing to go anywhere for the peace of the Korean Peninsula — if needed, I will fly immediately to Washington. I will go to Beijing and I will go to Tokyo,” said Moon Jae-in. “If the conditions shape up, I will go to Pyongyang.”
Choi’s response to that statement was guarded.
“We’ll see,” the North Korean official said.
Choi was returning from meetings in Norway with Suzanne DiMaggio, director of the U.S. think tank New America, Thomas Pickering and former ambassador to the United Nations, and Robert Einhorn, a former special adviser on arms control.
“I met with Pickering and I will discuss it when given the opportunity in the future,” Choi said.
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