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'We have to solve the North Korea problem,' Trump says

Posted October. 27, 2017 08:49,   

Updated October. 27, 2017 09:32


With his visit to Asian countries coming ahead, U.S. President Donald Trump has demonstrated his confidence in solving the issues with North Korea’s nuclear weapons. In an interview with Fox Business Network that aired Wednesday night, Trump said, “This should have been solved long before I came to office, when it would have been easier to solve. But it was given to me and I get it solved. I solve problems.”

President Trump also said that his upcoming 12-day Asia trip will be a "historic and positive" experience, adding, "We have to solve the North Korea problem. It’s a very big problem.”

He gave positive eval‎uation on the cooperation of China, but criticized Russia for being uncooperative. “China is helping us and maybe Russia's going the other way and hurting what we're getting,” Trump said. "I think we could have a good relationship with Russia. I think the North Korean situation would be easier settled.”

The White House reported Wednesday that President Trump sent a message to congratulate Chinese President Xi Jinping for being consecutively appointed as the general secretary of the Communist Party of China. “Spoke to President Xi of China to congratulate him on his extraordinary elevation. Also discussed NoKo & trade, two very important subjects!” President Trump also wrote on his Twitter account.

President Trump said a quote that seemingly leaves a room for inspecting the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ), which has drawn attention among his schedule for a visit to South Korea. When reporters asked related questions at the White House on Wednesday, he said, “I'd rather not say, but you'll be surprised.” The Washington Times reported that President Trump opened a possibility for his surprise visit to DMZ.

“Seoul and Washington are finalizing (President Trump’s schedule) and the official announcement will take place soon,” South Korea’s new ambassador to the U.S. Cho Yoon-je told reporters on Thursday. He is preparing for the departure to Washington after receiving the letter of credence from President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday.

“President Trump’s visit to Camp Humphreys, the U.S. military base in Pyeongtaek, is finalized,” multiple diplomatic sources reported. “Given his short visit for one night and two days, a visit to DMZ will be practically difficult.” Earlier on Monday, a White House senior official also said that it would be difficult for President Trump to visit both DMZ and Camp Humphreys.

There is also a report that the United States has been putting effort to open a channel of conversation with North Korea before President Trump’s Asia trip. According to NBC, Joseph Yun, a top American diplomat to North Korea, is trying his best to begin the conversations between North Korea and the Unites States, including sending Secretary of State Rex Tillerson or other high-rank envoy to North Korea. “North Korea is shunning talks with the United States after President Donald Trump's attacks on its leader, imperiling diplomatic efforts,” U.S. congressional officials told NBC News.

Jeong-Hun Park sunshade@donga.com