Tillerson: Trump North Korea Trip Will Feature 'Talks,' Not 'Negotiations'

Kim Jong Un shakes hands with Chung Eui-yong

Tillerson: Trump North Korea Trip Will Feature 'Talks,' Not 'Negotiations'

Former NBA player Dennis Rodman praised President Donald Trump for accepting an invitation to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un Thursday.

People watch a television news report showing pictures of President Trump, left, and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un at a railway station in Seoul on March 9.

But at the White House, there was a growing recognition that the North Korean offer for talks and South Korean desire to have them had put the United States under pressure to talk to the North, and that unless North Korea resumed aggressive activity like missile launches, Washington would likely take up the offer, a senior US official said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is already scheduled to meet with Kim in April at the Panmunjom Peace House in the heavily-fortified demilitarized zone between the two countries. The envoy was led by a veteran diplomat with close ties to the US, National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong.

Donald Trump enlisted Friday the help of China's Xi Jinping to keep sanctions pressure on North Korea, amid fears that an audacious diplomatic gambit by the United States president could lead to backsliding.

Kim called the president a "dotard" and said he was "mentally deranged."

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Kim Jong-un's Olympic détente-a remarkable (if largely symbolic) climbdown-caught most everyone by surprise.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump accepted the invitation to meet with the leader "at a place and time to be determined". That is why we should not do it unless we get a meaningful concession from North Korea. Here's what could go wrong before Trump and Kim even get started.

"Also remember that (North Korea) has for many years proposed that the president of the United States personally engage with North Korea's leaders as an equal - one nuclear power to another", he said.

On Thursday, Trump tweeted: "Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearisation with the South Korean representatives, not just a freeze. The "Korean risk" factor in Japanese equities will somewhat be reduced, pushing up prices", said Soichiro Monji of Daiwa SB Investments Ltd.

Some US officials and experts worry North Korea could buy time to build up and refine its nuclear arsenal if it drags out talks with Washington.

But others were less hopeful that the leaders meeting each other in real life, rather than behind their computer screens, would lead to any lasting change to the weapons programs that have made North Korea an worldwide pariah. S. and North Korea to hold talks as soon as possible, saying that at a news briefing in Beijing on Thursday that things "will not be smooth sailing".

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Until a few weeks ago, the US's stance was that North Korea would have to take demonstrable steps to denuclearise before the negotiations could begin, even at a low level - in other words, it would have to give up its chief leverage over the United States before the two countries could talk directly at all.

A senior administration official told reporters the president deserves credit for the dramatic developments.

Meanwhile, Rubio, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told "CBS This Morning" that if Kim is not willing to "give up nuclear weapons and the ability to strike the United States, then my sense is that this is basically an effort to undermine global sanctions by saying, 'Look, I'm willing to meet.' But in those meetings, he makes requests we know you can never accept". "In the meantime, the Trump administration should continue using the toughest sanctions to maintain maximum pressure before the summit in May".

But as we saw from Trump's recent announcement on steel and aluminum tariffs, this president has a penchant for making worldwide policy decisions in response to political developments at home. Chinese businesses and banks have been hit by sanctions targeting North Korea.

It was only six weeks ago when Trump, during his State of the Union address, declared that "no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea".

"President Trump has made his reputation on making deals", the official said.

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