19 March 2019
Donald Trump says he would put pressure on China to use its influence on Kim Jong-un (left) about North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Photo: Reuters
Donald Trump says he would put pressure on China to use its influence on Kim Jong-un (left) about North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Photo: Reuters

Trump: I have no problem speaking to Kim Jong-un

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he is willing to talk North Korean leader Kim Jong-un out of his nuclear weapons program.

The presumptive republican nominee told Reuters in a wide-ranging interview that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in eastern Ukraine are wrong and that the Paris climate deal should be renegotiated and Dodd-Frank financial regulations dismantled.

Trump’s comments on North Korea are a major policy shift to the isolated nation after the brash businessman earlier said Japan and South Korea should be allowed to develop nuclear weapons to counter Pyongyang.

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

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

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 said in the half-hour interview at his Trump Tower office in Manhattan.

Trump’s preparedness to meet Kim contrasts with President Barack Obama’s policy of relying on senior US officials to talk to senior North Korean officials. Obama has not engaged personally with Kim.

The New York billionaire said he is “not a big fan” of the Paris climate accord, which prescribes reductions in carbon emissions by more than 170 countries, and would want to renegotiate it because it gives favorable treatment to countries like China.

A renegotiation of the pact would be a major setback for what was hailed as the first truly global climate accord, committing both rich and poor nations to reining in the rise in greenhouse gas emissions blamed for warming the planet.

On Russia, Trump tempered past praise of Putin, saying the nice comments the Russian leader has made about him in the past would only go so far.

“The fact that he said good things about me doesn’t mean that it’s going to help him in a negotiation. It won’t help him at all,” he said.

Turning to the economy, Trump said he planned to release a detailed policy platform in two weeks that would propose dismantling nearly all of Dodd-Frank, a package of financial reforms put in place after the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

“Dodd-Frank is a very negative force, which has developed a very bad name,” Trump said.

On the US Federal Reserve, Trump said that while he eventually wants a Republican to head it, he is “not an enemy” of current chair Janet Yellen, who was appointed by Obama.

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