US President Donald Trump said on Thursday (Jan 11) he "probably" has a very good relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a change in tone for Trump after exchanging insults with Kim over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes. He has been fond of of mocking Kim as "little Rocket Man" because of North Korean missile tests. Kim called the 71-year-old American president "the mentally deranged US dotard".
But there are divisions within the administration. "They have to do more", Trump insisted.
The Pentagon declined comment on internal discussions, though one spokesman said Mattis had stressed in public that the effort to confront the North Korean crisis was diplomatically led. "I think you people are surprised", said the US President.
"At a minimum, he thinks that warning the Chinese about a preemptive strike would motivate Beijing to force Kim to shut down the programs that threaten the USA", the official said. Pyongyang said it would send a delegation.
Next week, the United States and Canada are to host a meeting on the nuclear stand-off with North Korea in Vancouver, bringing together friendly powers from around the world. The two nations made a bilateral agreement to hold talks that would ease the military tension that has rocked since the Korean War which ended by an armistice in 1953.
Trump's public response to the intra-Korean meeting has been mostly positive though at times tinged with skepticism. There was also another proposal by Seoul of a family member's reunion who was permanently separated after Korean was divide by the 38th parallel to the communist North and the Capitalist south in 1953. "I just don't want to comment", he replied, when asked by WSJ if he had contacts with the North Korean leader.
"I don't want to comment on it-I don't want to comment, I'm not saying I have or I haven't".
Despite the loss of nearly all trade, the impoverished North has pressed ahead with weapons development that Kim's regime sees as necessary for its survival in the face of US pressure.
"We have been much tougher on China, but not almost as tough as I would be, but they are helping us a lot with North Korea, he said in response to a question. That campaign is created to bring Kim to the table for meaningful negotiations".
"We will be discussing maritime interdiction", Hook said, raising the idea of an naval embargo to help enforce the already draconian United Nations sanctions on Kim's regime. "He's been advised by a lot of agencies and departments of the damage it would cause and the number of victims", the official said.
In the US, reaction to the breakthrough has been muted.
A Japanese ruling party lawmaker said he did not believe the Korean talks could narrow the gap between North Korea's demand for recognition as a nuclear-armed state and the USA refusal to accept that.
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