Araweelo News Network
Washington(ANN)-US President Donald Trump says his administration will sit down for negotiations with North Korea only if Pyongyang agrees to eliminate its nuclear arsenal.
Speaking on Saturday at the annual Gridiron Club Dinner in Washington, DC, Trump said North Korean leaders had contacted the White House for talks on de-escalating the ongoing tensions between the two sides.
“Now we are talking and they … called up a couple of days ago. They said that ‘we would like to talk.’ And I said, ‘So would we, but you have to denuke, you have to denuke,’” Trump was quoted as saying by Reuters.
The US president said he would not rule out the possibility of a meeting with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, whom he has previously called a “madman.”
“We will be meeting and we’ll see if anything positive happens,” he said. “As far as the risk of dealing with a madman is concerned, that’s his [Kim’s] problem not mine.”
He also joked about smoking a “peace pipe” with his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in order to end the months-long standoff over North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons programs.
Despite constantly claiming that it would prefer a diplomatic solution, Washington has time and again escalated the crisis by making military threats against the North.
The Trump White House has kept the shadow of war over the Korean Peninsula by sending troops and military equipment to the region in order to hold joint war games with its regional allies South Korea and Japan.
Washington has also spearheaded several rounds of sanctions against Pyongyang in order to pressure it to end its nuclear and missile programs.
The hostility comes despite a rapprochement between the two Koreas since last month, when Pyongyang announced it will take part in the Winter Olympics held in the southern neighbor’s city of Pyeongchang.
The North Korean leader’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, traveled to the South for the games and extended an invitation to South Korean President Moon Jae-in for a visit to Pyongyang.
The thaw between the two neighbors, which have been separated by a heavily-militarized border since the three-year Korean War came to an end in 1953, has been endangered by the Trump administration.
Under Trump’s rule, the US plans to resume war games in the region, a practice that was brought to a hold after Seoul’s request during the Olympics. The US has also sought to expand a UN sanction of North Korea ships ever since.