Trump Says He ‘Would Be Honored’ to Meet with North Korea’s Leader Kim Jong-un

US President Donald J. Trump speaks to members of the Independent Community Bankers Association in the Kennedy Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 01 May 2017. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

  • US President Trump has declared readiness to meet with North Korean regime’s leader, Kim Jong-un.
  • Trump has noted that he would do that ‘under the right circumstances’.
  • His press secretary has been quick to explain that for such a meeting to occur, North Korea would need to stop its provocations, a prospect seen as unlikely ‘any time soon’.
  • This is not the first time Trump has expressed readiness to meet with North Korea’s leader, and his predecessor Obama expressed a similar openness.
  • Trump has justified his invitation to the White House for controversial Philippine President Duterte by declaring that the latter is very popular in his home country.

Amid simmering tensions on the Korean Peninsula, US President Donald Trump has raised eyebrows with a comment that he would be prepared to meet with the leader of North Korea’s regime, Kim Jong-un.

Trump’s declared preparedness to meet with Kim has been quickly clarified and defended by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

The US President’s comment comes against the backdrop of lingering concerns that North Korea could carry out its sixth nuclear test or launch a long-range rocket as well as fears that the US might carry out a preemptive strike, after on April 7, Trump ordered a limited missile strike against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over the use of chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun, in Syria’s Idlib province.

Last week, North Korea’s regime suffered a new failure with its latest ballistic missile test attempt amid continuing tensions with the US and South Korea.

Earlier in April, North Korea attemped but failed another ballistic missile test. The regime has now carried out three failed and three successful rocket launches since the start of the Trump Administration.

Before that the regime of leader Kim Jong-un showed off a wide range of missiles, including what is believed to be a new type of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM).

Last week, North Korea celebrated the 85th anniversary since the founding of its military with a massive live-fire drill with conventional weapons in a show of force.

In spite of a delay, the US has deployed its Carl Vinson carrier strike group towards the Korean Peninsula, as well as the nuclear power submarine, the USS Michigan.

‘The Right Circumstances’

US President Donald Trump said on Monday he “would be honored to” meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “under the right circumstances”, Bloomberg reported.

“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it,” Trump said in an interview for Bloomberg.

“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,” he added.

This is not the first time Trump has said he would be willing to meet with the leader of the North Korean regime, after last year, while still on the campaign trail, he told Reuters he “would have no problem” speaking to Kim.

Shortly after Trump’s comments to Bloomberg, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was quick to clarify “the right circumstances” that the US President referred to.

The US administration would have “to see [North Korea’s] provocative behavior ratcheted down immediately,” before any such meeting could take place, Spicer said.

“I don’t see this happening any time soon,” he added, as cited by ABC news.

The press secretary further defended Trump’s use of the word “honored” after a remark that Kim was “somebody who has starved his own people.”

“He is still the head of state. So there’s a diplomatic piece to this. The bottom line is the president is going to do what he has to do,” Spicer argued.

Back in 2007, during a Democratic presidential primary debate, Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama also said he would be open to meeting with the leadership of North Korea as well as the leaders of other state hostile to the US, namely, Cuba, Iran, Syria, and Venezuela.

Nine years later, at the end of his second term, Obama ended up meeting with Cuba’s leader, Raul Castro.

‘Popular in the Philippines’

In his interview with Bloomberg, US President Trump also defended another one of his eyebrow-raising overtures, namely, his invitation for the controversial President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, to visit him in the White House.

Trump justified his invitation to Duterte, who has been widely criticized for human rights abuses, and has also declared the Philippines’ realignment with China, by arguing that the Philippine leader was very popular in his home country.

“You know he’s very popular in the Philippines. He has a very high approval rating in the Philippines,” Trump said.

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