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Trump hopes inter-Korean talks go beyond Olympics

All News 04:28 January 07, 2018

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Saturday that he hopes South and North Korea discuss more than just the Olympics when they meet for rare high-level talks next week.

Speaking to reporters at the Camp David presidential retreat, he also said he would be willing to speak with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un under the right conditions, according to news reports.

"I would love to see them take it beyond the Olympics," Trump was quoted as saying. "And at the appropriate time, we'll get involved."

The two Koreas are set to meet Tuesday at the truce village of Panmunjom to discuss North Korea's possible participation in next month's Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

It will be the first high-level inter-Korean dialogue since December 2015 and comes amid heightened tensions over North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Asked whether he would be willing to speak directly with Kim, the U.S. president said, "Sure, I always believe in talking."

Trump added, "He knows I'm not messing around, not even a little bit."

Trump and Kim have traded threats and personal insults as Pyongyang has aggressively pursued its weapons program to develop a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile capable of striking anywhere in the U.S.

Seoul has said the upcoming talks will focus on the Olympics amid concern among critics that Pyongyang is trying to drive a wedge in the Seoul-Washington alliance.

The allies have pursued a campaign of sanctions and pressure to force North Korea to abandon its weapons program.


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