Trump Suggests Talks With North Korea Are Already In The Works

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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  • President Donald Trump suggested at the Gridiron Club Dinner on Saturday that the U.S. is considering meeting with North Korea
  • The Trump Administration’s rhetoric may signal they are willing to talk to North Korea without preconditions
  • Trump had previously told Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that talks were a waste of time

After months of uncertainty, the president suggested Saturday night that the U.S. and North Korea “will be meeting” soon.

“They called up a couple of days ago and said, ‘We would like to talk,'” President Donald Trump said in his speech at the Gridiron Club Dinner on Saturday, according to CNN. “And I said, ‘So would we, but you have to de-nuke. You have to de-nuke.’ So let’s see what happens. Let’s see what happens.”

“I won’t rule out talks with Kim Jong Un. I just won’t,” he explained. “Maybe positive things are happening. I hope that’s true. And we’re soon going to know. We will be meeting, and we will see if anything positive happens.”

“As far as the risks of dealing with a madman are concerned, that is his problem, not mine,” he said during the joke-filled speech.

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The Trump administration has been kicking the idea of talks with North Korea around for quite some time.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson revealed in Beijing in October that the U.S. was interested in dialogue, but Trump intervened, asserting that talking to North Korea was a waste of time. “I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” the president tweeted, adding, “Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!”

Trump told reporters a couple of weeks later that he is “always open” to talks.

When Tillerson announced in December that the U.S. is ready to engage the North Koreans in talks without preconditions, the White House contradicted him, stressing that the U.S. is not ready.

The situation appears to have changed now that North and South Korea are talking again.

Vice President Mike Pence reportedly planned to meet with the  North Korean delegation a the Winter Olympics, but the North Koreans backed out of the meeting at the last minute. On his return home, Pence revealed that the U.S. is ready to talk to the North Koreans whenever they are, indicating that the administration is considering talks without preconditions.

Trump, however, has stated that the U.S. and North Korea can meet only “under the right conditions.”

“We have intention to resolve issues in a diplomatic and peaceful way through dialogue and negotiation, but we will neither beg for dialogue,” a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said Saturday, according to North Korean state media.

“The dialogue we desire is the one designed to discuss and resolve the issues of mutual concern on an equal footing between states,” the spokesman said.

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