President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron during their White House Cabinet meeting in Washington, Tuesday, April 24, 201
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that Kim Jong Un wants a historic high-stakes meeting as soon as possible and that the North Korean dictator is "very open-minded" "Very Honorable", a keen one Deviating assessment of a leader he once denounced as "Little Rocket Man".
The US and North Korea are negotiating a summit between Trump and Kim to be held in May or June. Deal on Pyongyang's nuclear program. Trump, who has made a very optimistic tone in recent days, said on Tuesday that the US and North Korea had "good talks".
"We were told directly that they like the meeting as soon as possible, and we think that's a great thing for the world," said Trump in the White House next to French President Emmanuel Macron. "Kim Jong Un, he was really very open and I think very honorable of everything we see."
Trump warned that North Korea had failed to live up to its previous promises, but had credited tough steps by its government – including sanctions – and organized pressure from international allies – to force Pyongyang to hold talks. And he again suggested he "leave the table" if the negotiations were not productive or if North Korea did not act in good faith.
"We'll see where it all goes," said the president. "Maybe it will be wonderful or maybe not."
Trump's comments came days after a barrage of steps from North Korea, which wanted to promote the White House as a sign that his forced campaign was working. On Saturday, North Korea announced it would close its nuclear test facility and suspend nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile testing – a move Trump said was "great progress."
The North, however, did not hesitate to abandon its nuclear power weapons – as Trump has suggested in a weekend tweet – or reduce the production of missiles and their components. When he said on Tuesday what he meant by "denuclearization", Trump said, "It means they get rid of their nuclear weapons, very simple."
"It would be easy for me to make a simple deal and I do not want to do that, "said the President.
This week, US South Korean Moon Jae-in and Kim will hold a summit in the demilitarized zone between the Koreas, which could prepare the ground for Trump's planned meeting with the North Korean dictator. The leaders of the US and North Korea have never met since the Korean War for six decades of hostility.
The exact date and exact location of the possible summit has not yet been determined.
As diplomacy gained momentum, White House officials said, and congressmen said the Trump administration was considering appointing Admiral Harry Harris, commander of US troops in the Pacific, as an ambassador to South Korea. This key position has remained vacant since Trump took office 15 months ago.
It would mean that the government's plans for important diplomatic tasks are reversed. Harris has already been nominated as ambassador to Australia. His Senate confirmation for the Australian position was scheduled to take place on Tuesday, but was postponed.
One of the congressional advisers said that both the State Department and the governments in Australia and South Korea have been informed that the government is planning to change postings for Harris, although nothing has yet been made public. The adjutant and other officials demanded anonymity to discuss the plans because they were not allowed to.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in Canberra that she had learned from US Secretary of State John Sullivan that Harris would become South Korea's ambassador and that a new appointment to Australia would be a priority for the next US Secretary of State.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who is Trump's foreign minister, said his own confirmation this month to hear that the Seoul vacancy needed "immediate attention." The man who previously dumped for the post, Korea expert Victor Cha, was passed over in January. Later, he expressed concern that the government was considering a military action against North Korea.
Harris spent almost 40 years in uniform and enjoys the reputation of a straightforward talent. Last month, before the Senate Armed Forces Committee, Harris said the US could not be overly optimistic about the outcome of the planned Trump-Kim summit. "We have to go in wide-eyed," he told the deputies.
Last year, in the UN Security Council, the United States imposed the toughest international sanctions against North Korea in response to three long-range missile launches and its attacks to date the most powerful nuclear test explosion. The Trump government supplemented these restrictions by unilateral US sanctions against companies that had traded illegally with the North.
This year, Kim transformed from confrontation to diplomacy and, according to South Korea and China, committed to denuclearization. There is still uncertainty about what he is looking for in return.
Trump's praise for Kim on Tuesday stood in stark contrast to his earlier warlike rhetoric against the North Korean leader. After dubbing him as "Little Rocket Man" from the United Nations Speaker Base last fall, Trump threatened to insult North Korea with "fire and rage" and mocked Kim on Twitter that his own nuclear "button" was bigger than the one in Pyongyang
Later on Tuesday, Trump wondered why he used the word "honorable" to describe Kim, who was accused of starving his own people, punishing his political opponents, and ordering the killing of his own member Family
Associated Press authors Zeke Miller, Ken Thomas and Matthew Lee of Washington, and Rod McGuirk of Canberra, Australia, contributed to the report.
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