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Trump Boasts of 'Very Good Relationship' With North Korean Leader
13 January 2018, 06:12 | Opal Carroll
Trump expresses 'openness to holding talks' with North Korea
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday praised North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un as a "mature politician" with a formidable arsenal, but also urged him to defuse worldwide tensions over Pyongyang's controversial nuclear program.
South Korea's President said on Wednesday he's open to meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if certain conditions are met, as he vowed to push for moretalks and cooperation with the North to try to resolve the nuclear standoff.
In a move meant to send a message to the North Korean regime, Vice President Mike Pence will reportedly be leading the USA delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympics.
The Kremlin strongman congratulated the North Korean dictator, saying he had won the latest stand-off with the United States and South Korea.
Asked whether he has spoken with the North Korean leader, Trump told the newspaper: "I don't want to comment on it". The two leaders additionally "underscored the importance of continuing the maximum pressure campaign against North Korea", according to the White House.
The North, however, has refused to do so, arguing that its development of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles is necessary to deter a potential attack by the U.S.
He also pledged support for the top US goal in the region, the "complete denuclearization" of North Korea. South Korea needs to abandon its military exercises with the United States and should not allow the U.S. to deploy its modern weapons on the country's territory.
"I think that this is possible in the long run no matter how hard it may seem", he went on, focusing on the settlement of the Korean peninsula's nuclear problem.
Seoul responded with an nearly instantaneous offer of dialogue, culminating in the first meeting of the two sides in two years on January 9 at the border village of Panmunjom.
In their telephone conversation on Wednesday, Trump also told Moon that vice-president Mike Pence would lead the United States delegation to the Olympic Games, the White House said.
Satellite images from December show increasing efforts to maintain the test site where North Korea has conducted the last six underground nuclear tests, claims a report Thursday by 38 North.
Sanders also said the North's decision to attend the Games presents it with an opportunity to see the value of ending its isolation from the rest of the world. North Korea's propaganda website Uriminzokkiri said joint military drills between both countries are a "source of catastrophe" for the Korean Peninsula. The interview, which lasted roughly 45 minutes, comes only nine days after Trump last tossed out his moniker for Kim on Twitter.
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