- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said in an interview Tuesday that he’d be willing to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

In a wide-ranging interview with Reuters News Agency, the New York tycoon said he’d be willing to meet Mr. Kim to help end Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

“I would speak to him. I would have no problem speaking to him,” Mr. Trump said.

No sitting U.S. president has ever met the leader of North Korea, which technically remains in a state of war with South Korea, a U.S. military ally that has tens of thousands of American troops on its soil to serve as a tripwire for war.

Mr. Trump said in the Reuters interview, consistent with his past statements, that he’d also lean hard on China, North Korea’s only ally, to handle the situation.

“At the same time I would put a lot of pressure on China because economically we have tremendous power over China,” he said.

Mr. Trump caused a firestorm earlier this spring, including an official response from North Korea, that the U.S. might encourage South Korea and Japan to acquire their own nuclear weapons to handle a North Korean acquisition.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican and one of the first major federal officeholders to endorse Mr. Trump, said he would “have no problem speaking” to the North Korean dictator.

But in a CNN interview, Mr. Sessions said “you have to be willing to walk away,” which he said distinguishes Mr. Trump from President Obama and likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and their Iran outreach.

“Nobody understands how to negotiate more effectively” than Mr. Trump, said Mr. Sessions, who is chairman of Mr. Trump’s foreign-policy advisory team.

Mr. Sessions acknowledged that he doesn’t think negotiations with Mr. Kim would amount to much, but “the attempt … may be worth the effort.”

In a statement, Clinton campaign foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan ridiculed Mr. Trump, starting his statement with the words “Let me get this straight.”

Mr. Trump “seems to have a bizarre fascination with foreign strongmen” such as the Kim dynasty and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Mr. Sullivan said, adding that “his approach to foreign policy makes no sense for the rest of us.”


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