US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in discussed North Korea during a meeting at the White House. Trump believes that a deal with North Korea is still possible.
President Donald Trump said US sanctions against North Korea should "remain in place" in a meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, at the White House on Thursday.
The president said he thought that sanctions being used to pressure Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons program are at a level that's "fair."
It was the South Korean President's first meeting with Trump since Trump's unsuccessful summit with Kim in Vietnam in February.
Moon has been acting as a go-between to resolve the nuclear standoff and has worked aggressively to foster better relations between the North and the South and keep nuclear talks between the US and North Korea moving.
Before the meeting, Trump noted that good things had come out of negotiations with North Korea even though Washington did not get what it wanted from the meetings with Kim. He said great progress had been made and that he got to know and respect the North Korean leader.
Revive nuclear talks
Trump did not rule out a third summit with Kim, but the US President said that future talks with North Korea on denuclearization would need to be "step-by-step" and that pushing hastily for an agreement would not produce a good outcome.
"It's step-by-step, it's not going to go fast," Trump said. "If it goes fast it's not going to be the proper deal."
Trump added that he remained focused on a more comprehensive agreement, though he did not rule out a "smaller deal."
"At the moment, we are talking about the big deal and the big deal is they have to get rid of the nuclear weapons," Trump said.
The US president declined to rule out a three-way meeting that also includes the South Koreans. "I really believe something very significant is going to happen," Trump said.
Ahead of his trip, aides to Moon stressed the need to revive US-North Korea talks as soon as possible after a second summit between Trump and Kim collapsed in Hanoi on Feb. 28.
Trump extended his wishes to Kim in remarks with Moon by his side, while Moon told Trump that there was a dramatic turnaround in the situation on the Korean Peninsula after Trump's first meeting with Kim.
Moon said he believed that Trump's diplomacy led to a reduction in military tension and he believes the issues can be resolved through dialogue.
dv, av/amp (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)