Washington: United States President Donald Trump has said that he was “absolutely” open to hold talks with North Korea over its nuclear programme but not without preconditions.
“We have a very firm stance. But I absolutely would do that… I always believe in talking,” Trump said when asked about his willingness to talk to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during a press conference at Camp David over the Republican’s 2018 agenda.
The president added that he has “no problem with that at all”.
Trump’s statement had come “amid mounting concerns that rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula could escalate into a military confrontation”, reported The Washington Post.
It quoted Trump as saying that the tough talk of being willing to use military force against the North “is not a stance; it’s what has to be done if it has to be done.”
The US president had recently been engaged in a war of words with the North Korean leader on Twitter.
He had hit back at Kim Jong-un by saying that he too has a nuclear button on his desk, which was much bigger and powerful than his.
“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times’. Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday.
The President’s reply came days after Kim Jong-un warned the United States that “the nuclear button is always on the desk of my office”.
“The entire mainland of the US is within the range of our nuclear weapons and the nuclear button is always on the desk of my office. They should accurately be aware that this is not a threat but a reality,” he said, according to a CNN translation of his speech, during his national New Year’s address.
He also declared that North Korea was “a responsible nuclear nation that loves peace” and that “the US cannot wage a war” against it.
Rising tensions between the US and North Korea, which conducted its largest nuclear test in September and fired off a powerful ICBM in late November, have raised concerns worldwide.
Trump has long been trading insults with Jong-un over this issue.
While Trump has referred to Jong-un as “rocket man”, his rival had previously called him a “mentally deranged dotard”. (ANI)