Interesting oval office interview in Reuters. President Trump, Vice-President Pence and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have invested an extraordinary amount of time engaging in deep diplomacy, and clarity of discussion, with every regional member affected by the North Korea nuclear issues.
I still believe the Giant Panda will never allow Kim Jong Un to compromise the stability of the region. The only previously missing ingredient for China to engage more fully was respect from the U.S. toward their interests. If North Korea go rogue, and they might, China will suffer most in the aftermath because all leverage will be gone and respect from the Trump White House will be compromised.
Regardless of what happens, President Trump has covered every possible angle, held every possible conversation and exhausted every possible diplomatic tool possible.
REUTERS – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday a major conflict with North Korea is possible in the standoff over its nuclear and missile programs, but he would prefer a diplomatic outcome to the dispute.
“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely,” Trump told Reuters in an Oval Office interview ahead of his 100th day in office on Saturday.
Nonetheless, Trump said he wanted to peacefully resolve a crisis that has bedeviled multiple U.S. presidents, a path that he and his administration are emphasizing by preparing a variety of new economic sanctions while not taking the military option off the table.
“We’d love to solve things diplomatically but it’s very difficult,” he said.
In other highlights of the 42-minute interview, Trump was cool to speaking again with Taiwan’s president after an earlier telephone call with her angered China. He also said he wanted South Korea to pay the cost of the U.S. THAAD anti-missile defense system, which he estimated at $1 billion.
He said he intended to renegotiate or terminate a U.S. free trade pact with South Korea because of a deep trade deficit with Seoul.Trump said he was considering adding stops to Israel and Saudi Arabia to a Europe trip next month, emphasizing he wanted to see an Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Trump said North Korea was his biggest global challenge. He lavished praise on Chinese President Xi Jinping for Chinese assistance in trying to rein in Pyongyang. The two leaders met in Florida earlier this month.
“I believe he is trying very hard. He certainly doesn’t want to see turmoil and death. He doesn’t want to see it. He is a good man. He is a very good man and I got to know him very well.
“With that being said, he loves China and he loves the people of China. I know he would like to be able to do something, perhaps it’s possible that he can’t,” Trump said. (read more)