Trump hints meeting with DPRK's Kim, rules out

Tuesday 21st August, 2018
U.S. President Donald Trump08

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 (Xinhua/GNA) - U.S. President Donald Trump said here on Monday that he would "most likely" meet with the top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Jong Un.

Speaking with Reuters in an interview at the White House, Trump said it would be "likely". "It's most likely we will, but I just don't want to comment," Trump said, offering no details on the timing or venue. He also said that he believes Pyongyang had taken specific steps toward denuclearization.

He added that he has "great chemistry" with Kim. "I like him. He likes me," he said. "There's no ballistic missiles going up, there's a lot of silence ... I have very good personal relations with Chairman Kim, and I think that's what holds it together."

As U.S.-Turkey diplomatic deadlock lingered over an American pastor, Trump ruled out any possibility of concessions with Turkey over the case, and said he was not concerned at all that his tough stance on Turkey could hurt other economies. "I think it's very sad what Turkey is doing. I think they're making a terrible mistake. There will be no concessions," he said in the interview.

Trump said he thought he had a deal with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to release Andrew Brunson after he had convinced Israel to free a detained Turkish citizen. "Until now I had a very good relationship as you know with the president. I got along with him great. I had a very good relationship. But it can't be a one-way street. It's no longer a one-way street for the United States," said Trump.

Reuters quoted a U.S. senior official that Trump and Erdogan had met in Brussels in mid-July when they discussed how to solve Brunson's case, as "Turkey had sought U.S. help to persuade the Israelis to release a Turkish woman who was being held in Israel." When asked about the potential damage of U.S. actions to other economies, the White House host said that "I'm not concerned at all. I'm not concerned. This is the proper thing to do."

Andrew Brunson, a 50-year-old Christian pastor, was detained two years ago in Turkey on spying charges, and would face up to 35 years in prison if found guilty. The U.S. Department of the Treasury slapped sanctions on Turkey's justice and interior ministers on Aug. 1, citing their roles in the detention of Brunson.

Trump tweeted on Aug. 10 that he has authorized a doubling of tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports as their currency Lira slides rapidly downward against the U.S. dollar.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in response that problems with the United States over a series of differences can be solved easily but not with its current mindset. Cavusoglu also said that Turkey has done its part in terms of preserving friendly relations with the United States, and once again accused Washington of supporting terrorist groups targeting Turkey.

In the interview, Trump also indicated that he would consider lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia if Moscow took some actions in such areas as Syria or Ukraine.

"I would consider it if they do something that would be good for us. But I wouldn't consider it without that," he said without mentioning the U.S. threat to sanction Russia in two phases, which has drawn bitter criticism from Moscow.

Trump has been widely attacked after his Helsinki meeting with Putin, due to his reconciliatory remarks that many saw as a sign of siding with Moscow against the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. elections. The White House has said that the next meeting between Trump and Putin will be delayed until next year.

Turning to Iran, Trump said it did not matter to him whether he met Iran's leaders and there had been no U.S. outreach toward Iran to discuss possible talks. "If they want to meet, fine.

If they don't want to meet, I couldn't care less," he said. The first round of U.S. re-imposed sanctions on Iran took effect earlier this month. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that any negotiation with the United States to solve the existing problems was an "obvious mistake."

"I have reiterated that we can not rely on American words and even their signature, therefore, negotiations with them are fruitless," he said. Trump also said in the interview that "I'm constantly reviewing Afghanistan and the whole Middle East. We never should have been in the Middle East. It was the single greatest mistake in the history of our country."

GNA