Trump: I would speak to North Korea's leader

Republican presidential candidate says he is willing to talk to Kim Jong Un to try to stop his country’s nuclear program.

Ben Ariel ,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday he is willing to talk to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to try to stop his country’s nuclear program.

The presumptive Republican nominee declined to share details of his plans to deal with North Korea, but said he was open to a face-to-face meeting with its leader.

"I would speak to him, I would have no problem speaking to him," Trump told Reuters.

North Korea’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s remarks.

Pyongyang has conducted several missile tests in recent months, but it failed in its last several attempts to do so.

Trump’s comments come after Kim adopted a soft tone on his country’s nuclear program, saying at a recent congress of his ruling party that North Korea would only use nuclear weapons if attacked by a nuclear power, adding he wanted improved relations with previously "hostile" nations.

The next day, the congress formally adopted Kim’s policy, calling to develop the country's nuclear arsenal while enshrining a policy of not using nuclear weapons unless the country’s sovereignty is threatened by another nuclear power.

In his comments on Tuesday, Trump also said he would press China, Pyongyang's only major diplomatic and economic supporter, to help find a solution.

"I would put a lot of pressure on China because economically we have tremendous power over China," he told Reuters.

Trump's preparedness to meet Kim contrasts with President Barack Obama's policy of relying on senior U.S. officials to talk to senior North Korean officials.

Obama has not engaged personally with Kim, but in February there were conflicting reports regarding a proposal for renewed United States-North Korea peace talks.

The State Department insisted that Washington rejected a North Korean proposal to discuss a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War because it did not address denuclearization on the peninsula.

But a report earlier in the Wall Street Journal suggested the opposite - that it was the United States that offered the peace treaty and that Pyongyang had been the one to reject it.