President Donald Trump said Wednesday he is willing to negotiate directly with Kim Jong Un over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program but communicated doubts it would sequentially work.
“I’d sit down, but I’m not sure that sitting down will solve the problem,” Trump said in an Oval Office interview with Reuters.
The president would not say whether he has spoken with Kim directly, whom he has nicknamed “little rocket man.”
Trump pointed out that discussions undertaken by previous White House administrations with the North Korean regime had not been successful.
“I‘m not sure that talks will lead to anything meaningful,” Trump said. “They’ve talked for 25 years and they’ve taken advantage of our presidents, of our previous presidents.”
In the interview, Trump praised China for restricting oil and coal from going to North Korea but called out Russia.
“Russia is not helping us at all with North Korea,” Trump said. “What China is helping us with, Russia is denting. In other words, Russia is making up for some of what China is doing.”
Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, secretly traveled to San Francisco over the weekend for a meeting on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, Fox News has confirmed.
According to sources, McMaster met with officials from South Korea and Japan, including Shotaro Yachi, the director of the Japanese national security council.
During the meeting, the group discussed the newly-resumed communications between North Korea and South Korea. They also agreed that these renewed communications – and agreement for North Korea to send athletes to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea next month — are diversions and have no effect on North Korea leader Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons program, the sources said.
Also in the interview with Reuters President Trump said that Russia is helping North Korea get supplies in violation of international sanctions and that Pyongyang is getting “closer every day” to being able to deliver a long-range missile to the United States.:
“Russia is not helping us at all with North Korea,” Trump said during an Oval Office interview with Reuters. “What China is helping us with, Russia is denting. In other words, Russia is making up for some of what China is doing.”
China and Russia both signed onto the latest rounds of United Nations Security Council sanctions against North Korea imposed last year. There was no immediate comment from the Russian embassy in Washington on Trump’s remarks.
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