UNITED State of America’s Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, said on Tuesday he is willing to talk to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to try to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear program, proposing a major shift in U.S. policy toward the isolated nation.
In a wide-ranging interview with Reuters, Trump also called for a renegotiation of the Paris climate accord, said he disapproved of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in eastern Ukraine, and said he would seek to dismantle most of the US Dodd-Frank financial regulations if he is elected president.
The presumptive Republican nominee declined to share details of his plans to deal with North Korea, but said he was open to talking to its leader.
“I would speak to him, I would have no problem speaking to him,” he said.
Asked whether he would try to talk some sense into the North Korean leader, Trump replied, “Absolutely.”
North Korea’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s remarks.
Trump, 69, 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 interview in his office on the 26th floor of Trump Tower in Manhattan. “China can solve that problem with one meeting or one phone call.”
Trump’s preparedness to talk directly with Kim contrasts with President Barack Obama’s policy of relying on senior U.S. officials to talk to senior North Korean officials.
A South Korean foreign ministry official declined to respond directly to Trump’s comments but said South Korea and the United States were committed to denuclearization as the top priority of any dialogue with North Korea.
“North Korea must cease threats and provocations and show with action its sincere commitment to denuclearization,” the official said by telephone.
Obama has not engaged personally with Kim, but he has pushed for new diplomatic overtures to Iran and Cuba that produced a nuclear deal with Tehran and improved ties with Havana.
Sitting at his desk with an expansive view of Central Park, Trump spoke at length about his economic and foreign policy ideas in the half-hour interview. Facing him on his desk is a framed photograph of his father, the late Fred Trump. A wall displays framed photos of Trump with various celebrities, as well as numerous magazine covers on which he has appeared.
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.