SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – North Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator welcomed on Friday US President Donald Trump’s suggestion that a “new method” be used in talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programs.
Kim Myong Gil praised Trump’s “wise political decision” to seek a new approach to the stalled talks without a “troublemaker” in the U.S. administration – an apparent reference to John Bolton, Trump’s hawkish former national security adviser, who was fired last week.
Trump said on Wednesday Bolton’s suggestion for a Libyan model of denuclearization for North Korea “set us back very badly,” while his own diplomacy had resulted in the country freezing nuclear tests and returning remains of U.S. soldiers missing from the 1950-53 Korean War.
“So I think John really should take a look at how badly they’ve done in the past and maybe a new method would be very good,” Trump said, when asked about news reports saying that Bolton thought talks with North Korea were doomed to failure.
Kim Myong Gil said he wanted to be “optimistic” that the United States would present the “right calculation method at the upcoming talks,” an apparent reference to a call by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for Washington to show more flexibility.
“At the moment I am not quite sure what he (Trump) implied in his suggestion of ‘new method’ but to me it seems he wanted to imply that a step-by-step solution starting with the things feasible first while building trust in each other would be the best option,” Kim added in a statement carried by North Korea’s official KCNA news agency.
The White House did not respond when asked to elaborate on Trump’s remarks.