Trump calls on N. Korea to make nuclear deal


WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump said that North Korea should “come to the table” and make a deal on its missile and nuclear programmes.

Speaking next to South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Seoul yesterday, Trump said he saw some progress in regard to North Korea, but declined to comment on holding direct talks with Pyongyang.

He added that the US stands ready to use its full range of military capabilities “if need be”.

“I really believe that it makes sense for North Korea to come to the table and to make a deal that’s good for the people of North Korea and the people of the world,” Trump said.

Pyongyang’s accelerated missile and nuclear weapons programme — and a war of words between Trump and Kim — have ratcheted up tensions in North Asia to the highest level in decades.

Nowhere is that tension felt more acutely than in Seoul, with a metropolitan area of more than 25 million people and a location in striking range of the regime.

“Talks and some kind of deal are the only way out of this,” said John Delury, an associate professor of Chinese studies at Yonsei University in Seoul. “What really needs to happen now is quiet conversation between American and North Korean officials. For the Americans to be able to talk with any credibility the North Koreans need to know that Potus is on board.”

Trump said the US had three aircraft carriers in position along with a nuclear submarine.

“We have many things happening that we hope, we hope — in fact I’ll go a step further — we hope to God, we never have to use,” he said.

Moon said the two countries had agreed to lift the limit on payloads on South Korean missiles and expand rotational deployment of strategic assets.

They also plan to start talks to acquire and develop high-end military surveillance assets in South Korea, he said.

“Trump and I have reaffirmed our existing strategy of pushing for sanctions and pressure until North Korea gives up its nuclear talks and comes to the path of dialogue,” he said.

The US president has been pressing China to put maximum pressure on North Korea, while the US approach also includes urging the governments in Seoul and Tokyo to set aside decades of mistrust and work together.

Trump, who is heading to Beijing today for a state visit, said China had been “very very helpful” on North Korea, and that getting countries such as Russia on board would help things happen quickly.

“All nations must implement UN Security Council regulations and cease trade and business entirely with North Korea,” Trump said. “It is unacceptable that nations would help to arm and finance this increasingly dangerous regime.”