US President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Washington is not looking for a leadership change in North Korea, amid failure to resume denuclearization talks.
While answering a question from reporters about tensions in Iran, Trump brought up North Korea and said the two countries have “tremendous potential,” seemingly urging the regime to return to the denuclearization talks.
President Donald Trump talks with reporters after receiving a briefing on Hurricane Dorian in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, in Washington. (AP-Yonhap)
“Iran can be a great country and North Korea can be a great country,” he said.
“They can be great. We are not looking for a regime change. We’ve learned that lesson a long time ago. They can be great countries. We’ll see what happens, but there’s a lot of talking going on right now. And I think a lot of it’s going to be, and maybe all of it’s going to happen in some very important deals.”
At another press event at the White House earlier in the day, he touted the North’s potential and said “they’re going to want to take advantage of it.”
Trump may have tried to send a message to the North that he would like to consider a security guarantee for the regime as a reciprocal step for it giving up its nuclear arsenal.
After a second summit between Trump and Kim in Vietnam in February ended without a deal, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said obtaining security guarantees is Pyongyang’s main goal, rather than sanctions relief.
Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to start working-level dialogue within weeks when they met at the inter-Korean border of Panmunjom on June 30.
With a working-level meeting not materializing as soon as had been expected, Washington has repeatedly called on Pyongyang to come back to the negotiating table, suggesting more flexible approaches for the next round of denuclearization talks.
Pyongyang has slammed US officials for emphasizing that they will keep the economic sanctions against the North in place, threatening that it is running out of patience.
“Our expectations of dialogue with the US are gradually disappearing and we are being pushed to reexamine all the measures we have taken so far,” North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said last week.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org