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House lawmaker calls Trump's willingness to meet with N.K. leader 'ludicrous'

A U.S. House Republican lawmaker blasted Donald Trump's willingness to hold talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, saying such a meeting will only bolster the stature of a dictator seeking to "nuke the United States."

"You don't meet with a dictator like Kim Jong-un. All you do is, you feed into him at that point, you strengthen him. You put him in a better position," Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) said on CNN, calling the real-estate tycoon a "populist."

"The reality is, Donald, you may have good intentions, I don't know, but you don't meet with dictators of recluse countries like North Korea that talked about wanting to basically nuke the United States. That's ludicrous," Kinzinger said.

Trump said in an interview with Reuters earlier this week that he "would speak to" the North's leader and would have "no problem speaking to him." It was the first time the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has expressed his willingness to meet with a leader he's described as a "madman" and "maniac."

North Korea reacted positively to Trump's suggestion. Yang Hyong-sop, a top official who seves as vice-president of the Presidium of the country's Supreme People's Assembly, told APTN in Pyongyang, "If it turns out to be the case, there won't be anything bad."

Kinzinger also criticized Trump's argument the U.S. shouldn't help protect allies unless they pay more.

"We're not a mercenary unit. We don't run a mafia protection ring where we extort you for money or we leave," he said. "The reality is, being involved in the world is to our benefit as well.

There's a reason we have troops in South Korea. There's a reason we're a member of NATO."

The congressman said that the U.S. "never could have taken down the Soviet Union" without such troop presence.

"This idea that you're either going to pay us or we're going to go home makes good politics. Right? It makes for cheering crowds, but it's dangerous, and the next generation of Americans are going to have to put on a uniform to clean up this mess," he said. (Yonhap)

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