- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 11, 2019

President Trump said Thursday in a meeting with South Korea’s president that he’s willing to consider smaller deals with North Korea but is still focused on “the big deal” of complete denuclearization.

In his first face-to-face-meeting with President Moon Jae-in since the failure of the North Korean denuclearization summit in Hanoi in early March, Mr. Trump said he is discussing “certain humanitarian things” for North Korea such as food aid to keep fragile talks on track.

“There are various smaller deals that maybe could happen,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House. “You could work out, step by step, pieces. But at this moment, we’re talking about the big deal. The big deal is we have to get rid the nuclear weapons.”

Mr. Trump also said he wants international sanctions “to remain in place” on North Korea as talks continue. Mr. Moon has been urging more leniency toward North Korea.

U.S. negotiators said in December that they might be willing to provide food shipments to impoverished North Korea, and Mr. Trump said Thursday, “You have to be OK with that.”

“The relationship [with North Korea] is a much different relationship than it was two years ago,” Mr. Trump said. “So we’ll be discussing that.”

Both men discussed plans to hold more meetings on denuclearization with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Mr. Trump said he believes “a lot of tremendous things” will happen with North Korea.

“Hopefully it will end up in a great solution … for the world,” Mr. Trump said.

He acknowledged that the outcome of the Hanoi summit, which ended without any agreement, did not go as he’d hoped.

But he said that he still considers it a “good meeting” and said he has a strong relationship with Mr. Kim.

Mr. Moon said he does not view the Hanoi summit as a failure, but part of a longer “process” with the North. Mr. Trump nodded as Mr. Moon’s translator said those words.

Mr. Moon also said he agrees with Mr. Trump on the “ultimate goal” of total denuclearization by North Korea.

The White House said Mr. Moon’s visit “will help strengthen the friendship and alliance” between the U.S. and South Korea.

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