Trump: I'll Hold Nuclear Talks With North Korea's Kim
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has said he would hold talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to try to halt the communist nation's nuclear programme.
 
There has been little dialogue between the US and North Korea since Pyongyang pulled out of international aid-for-disarmament negotiations with the US and other nations in 2008. Mr Trump told Reuters news agency:
"I would speak to him, I would have no problem speaking to him. At the same time I would put a lot of pressure on China because economically we have tremendous power over China."
It was unclear whether Mr Trump was referring to bilateral talks between the US and North Korea or a face-to-face meeting.
 
The Obama administration has said it would be willing to resume talks, but only if the North committed to the aim of giving up nuclear weapons.
 
North Korea, meanwhile, has performed two nuclear tests since Kim took power four years ago, the most recent of which came earlier this year
 
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No sitting US president has met the leader of North Korea
 
The North has also launched long-range rockets into space, intensifying fears that it's moving closer to have a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile that could threaten the American mainland.
 
In response, the US has led the international effort to step up sanctions on Pyongyang.
 
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton's campaign jumped on Mr Trump's remarks.
 
Referring to Mr Trump's recent feud with Prime Minister David Cameron, Clinton adviser Jake Sullivan said: 
"Let me get this straight. Donald Trump insults the leader of our closest ally, then turns around and says he'd love to talk to Kim Jong Un?
"I suppose that makes sense for him, since he also praised Kim Jong Un for executing his uncle and seems to have a bizarre fascination with foreign strongmen like [Russian president Vladimir] Putin and Kim. But his approach to foreign policy makes no sense for the rest of us."
 
No sitting US president has met the leader of North Korea, although former US presidents have met Kim Jong Un's predecessors on visits to the isolated nation.
 
Jimmy Carter met Kim Il Sung, the current leader's grandfather, in 1994 - a meeting that paved the way for a disarmament agreement negotiated by the Clinton administration that later collapsed.
 
Bill Clinton met Kim Jong Il, the current leader's father, in 2009, when he travelled to Pyongyang to secure the release of two detained American journalists.
 
 
As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama was criticised by both Republican and Democratic rivals for saying he would be willing to meet leaders of nations like Iran, Cuba and North Korea without pre-conditions. 
 
Mrs Clinton said at the time that Mr Obama's position was naive and irresponsible.
 
Cover photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore.
 

 

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