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Donald Trump attends the Oval Office in the White House, Washington, on April 27.
Donald Trump attends the Oval Office in the White House, Washington, on April 27.

Trump: Major Conflict With N. Korea Possible

Trump said 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
Trump also said he hoped to avoid a potential government shutdown amid a dispute between congressional Republicans and Democrats over a spending deal with a Saturday deadline looming

Trump: Major Conflict With N. Korea Possible

US President Donald Trump said there is a chance of having a major conflict with North Korea.
Trump made the statement in an Oval Office interview with Reuters ahead of his 100th day in office on Saturday.
Nonetheless, Trump said he wanted to peacefully resolve a crisis that has bedeviled multiple US 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 wants South Korea to pay the cost of the US THAAD anti-missile defense system, which he estimated at $1 billion, and intends to renegotiate or terminate a US free trade pact with South Korea because of a deep trade deficit with Seoul.
Seoul retorted that under the Status of Forces Agreement that governs the US military presence in the country, South Korea would provide the THAAD site and infrastructure while the US would pay to deploy and operate it.
“There is no change to this basic position,” South Korea’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Asked when he would announce his intention to renegotiate the pact, Trump said, “Very soon. I’m announcing it now.”

  Israeli, Saudi Trips to Europe Opposed
Trump also said he was considering adding stops to Israel and Saudi Arabia to a Europe trip next month, emphasizing that he wanted to see an Israeli-Palestinian peace. He complained that Saudi Arabia was not paying its fair share for US defense.
Asked about the fight against the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, Trump said the militant group had to be defeated.
“I have to say, there is an end. And it has to be humiliation,” he said, when asked about what the endgame was for defeating IS.
Trump said North Korea was his biggest global challenge. He lavished praise on Chinese President Xi Jinping for 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,” Trump said.
“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 spoke just a day after he and his top national security advisers briefed US lawmakers on the North Korean threat.
The Trump administration on Wednesday declared North Korea “an urgent national security threat and top foreign policy priority”.
It said it was focusing on economic and diplomatic pressure, including Chinese cooperation in containing its defiant neighbor and ally, and remained open to negotiations.
US officials said military strikes remained an option but played down the prospect, though the administration has sent an aircraft carrier and a nuclear-powered submarine to the region in a show of force.
Any direct US military action would run the risk of massive North Korean retaliation and huge casualties in Japan and South Korea, and among US forces in both countries.
Asked if he considered North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to be rational, ,” Trump said he was operating from the assumption that he is rational. He noted that Kim had taken over his country at an early age.
“He’s 27 years old. His father dies, took over a regime. So say what you want but that is not easy, especially at that age,” he said.
Trump also said he hoped to avoid a potential government shutdown amid a dispute between congressional Republicans and Democrats over a spending deal with a Saturday deadline looming.

 

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