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Trump says would ‘absolutely’ talk to Kim over phone

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Donald Trump suggested talks might lead to easing of tension taking credit for diplomatic breakthrough.

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08th-Jan-2018       
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AFP, United States :
US President Donald Trump said Saturday he would be willing to speak directly with Kim Jong-Un, voicing hope that rare talks between North and South Korea could help deescalate the crisis over Pyongyang's nuclear drive.
Trump's remarks were a further pivot from his often-bellicose rhetoric on North Korea and Kim, with whom he has engaged in a war of words that raised fears of nuclear war as Pyongyang carried out missile and nuclear tests.
"I always believe in talking," Trump said at the Camp David presidential retreat when asked if he would speak to Kim by phone.
"Absolutely I would do that, no problem with that at all," Trump said, while making clear this did not mean he would do so without preconditions.
North and South Korea have agreed to hold their first official talks in more than two years, and Trump expressed hopes that they would go beyond discussions of Pyongyang's participation in the upcoming Winter Olympics in the South, which a North Korean Olympic official said Saturday was "likely."
"I would love to see them take it beyond the Olympics," Trump said. "And at the appropriate time, we'll get involved." He added that if something could come out of the talks, "that would be a great thing for all of humanity."
Kim said in a New Year speech that his country wished success for the Olympics, to be held from February 9-25, and would consider sending a delegation-remarks that set off a tentative rapprochement after weeks of high tensions.
The North and South agreed to the talks on Friday, and Seoul has proposed sending a five-member delegation led by a government minister to the talks in the truce village of Panmunjom on Tuesday, according to the Unification Ministry in Seoul.
The North and South agreed to the talks on Friday, and Seoul has proposed sending a five-member delegation led by a government minister to the talks in the truce village of Panmunjom on Tuesday, according to the Unification Ministry in Seoul.
Seoul and organizers are keen for the North to take part in the Games to help ease tensions.
Chang Ung, North Korea's representative to the International Olympic Committee, said Saturday the reclusive nation is "likely to participate" in next month's Winter Games.
Japanese news agency Kyodo said Chang had made the brief comment to reporters during a stopover at Beijing's international airport, and that he was believed to be traveling to Switzerland, where the IOC is based.
The two Koreas have been separated by the world's most heavily-militarized border since the Korean War ended in a stalemate in 1953, but tensions have worsened recently over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.
In recent months, the North has held multiple missile launches and its sixth and most powerful nuclear test-purportedly of a hydrogen bomb-in violation of UN resolutions banning such activity by the isolated nation.
The region has also been rattled by tit-for-tat threats and insults between Kim and Trump.
Seoul has reacted warmly to Kim's Olympic overture and the two Koreas this past week restored a cross-border hotline that had been shut down since 2016 and agreed to hold the talks next week-the first since December 2015.

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