US President Donald Trump said yesterday that he would be “honoured” to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “under the right circumstances.”
“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honoured to do it,” Trump told Bloomberg News in an interview.
“If it’s under the, again, under the right circumstances. But I would do that.
“Most political people would never say that, but I’m telling you under the right circumstances I would meet with him.”
The remarks come amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula over Pyongyang’s nuclear programme and frequent missile tests.
Trump had said during his presidential campaign that he was willing to chart a different course than past administrations by meeting Kim.
However he has so far focused on encouraging China to do more to pressure North Korea, while reassuring US allies of Washington’s willingness to defend them.
Meanwhile, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency was in South Korea on an unannounced visit, the Yonhap news agency reported, citing government sources.
CIA chief Mike Pompeo met the head of South Korea’s intelligence service, the acting US ambassador to Seoul, the US Forces Korea (USFK) commander and officials at the presidential office, Yonhap said. He arrived Saturday, according to the report.
A spokesman for the US embassy said Pompeo was in South Korea for USFK and embassy meetings.
North Korea attempted to fire a ballistic missile on Saturday just hours after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson demanded “new pressure” and further sanctions against Pyongyang.
President Donald Trump does not intend to trade away US jobs for China’s help on North Korea, US
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said yesterday, adding that there were “constructive” talks with Beijing underway on trade issues.
In an interview with CNBC, Ross rowed back from Trump’s comments in a CBS interview on Saturday that China’s help on North Korea “trumps trade”.
Asked if the need for China’s help to contain threats from North Korea had made it more difficult to be tough with Beijing on trade issues, Ross said he did not think so.
“We’ve been having some very constructive discussions on trade with the Chinese in parallel” to discussions on North Korea, Ross told CNBC.
“I think what the president was trying to say is that we’re trying to have an overall constructive relationship with China on a variety of topics, the most pressing of which, because it directly involves human lives, is the North Korea situation.
I don’t think he meant to indicate at all that he intends to trade away American jobs just for help on North Korea,” Ross said.
Ross also reaffirmed that the administration intended to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, not withdraw from it.
He called NAFTA “an ancient treaty” that does nothing to address the digital economy, very little to address services, and has many “obsolete” provisions, such as those on rules of origin, allowing in too many components and products from outside the United States, Canada and Mexico. He said, however, Mexico’s July 2018 national elections could become an obstacle if negotiations
were not completed well before then.
Asked about White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro’s role in trade policy, Ross said he was “not a trade negotiator,” but was working with the US Trade Representative, and the Commerce Department as “a kind of triumvirate” on trade.
Ross added that Navarro was spending a lot of time on “Buy American, Hire American” initiatives as part of his focus on US trade deficits.
Trump created the role for Navarro after he served as the principal economic advisor to his 2016 election campaign.
President Donald Trump said yesterday he would consider raising the federal tax on gasoline to fund infrastructure development “earmarked toward the highways,” Bloomberg News reported.
“It’s something that I would certainly consider,” Trump told the news agency in an interview.
l In an interview that aired on Sirius XM satellite radio yesterday, Trump suggested that if 19th-century US president Andrew Jackson had governed a little later than his 1829-1837 terms, the American Civil War might have been averted. And Trump questioned why the bloody conflict had to happen.
“Had Andrew Jackson been a little later, you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart,” Trump told Sirius XM.
He said that although Jackson was a “swashbuckler,” after his wife died, Jackson visited her grave every day.
Jackson, a slave owner who was instrumental in the forced removal of Native-American tribes from the US Southeast in the so-called Trail of Tears, died nearly 16 years before the start of the Civil War. But Trump told Sirius XM that Jackson “was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War”.
“He said, ‘There’s no reason for this,’” Trump said. “People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War — if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there a Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”
It was not clear what Trump believed Jackson would have done to avert the 1861-65 conflict.
The events leading to the Civil War have been extensively researched, with slavery being one of the root causes.
By the time of his death, Jackson owned about 150 slaves who lived and worked at his plantation, the Hermitage. During his time in office, Jackson denounced the growing activity of abolitionists seeking an end to slavery.
Trump and his supporters have likened his election victory to Jackson’s triumph in 1828, when Old Hickory became the first US president from what was then the western frontier of Tennessee.
The populist Democrat famously opened the White House to all comers after his inauguration, turning the normally dignified executive mansion into a mob scene.
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign released a television commercial yesterday, touting his achievements after 100 days in office.
Monday was his 102nd day since being sworn in on January 20. “America has rarely seen such success,” the commercial declares over a video clip of Trump holding up one of his signed executive orders in the Oval Office.
The spot lists actions that appeal to his conservative base, as well as promoting his populist agenda, bashing the media and repeating Trump’s campaign slogan.
“A respected supreme court justice confirmed, companies investing in American jobs again, America becoming more energy independent, regulations that kill American jobs eliminated, the biggest tax cut plan in history,” a deep-voiced announcer says.
“You wouldn’t know it from watching the news. America is winning, and President Trump is making America great again.”
The White House has sought to portray a flurry of activity in Trump’s first months in office, emphasising his executive orders in areas including border security, business regulations and energy policy.
The campaign, Donald J Trump for President, said it was buying $1.5mn in airtime in major television markets nationwide, with online efforts underlining the message.
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