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Trump on Kim Jong Un: 'I Don't Think He's Playing'

By VOA News April 27, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump expressed optimism Friday about the commitments North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made during an historic summit with his South Korean counterpart.

"No, I don't think he's playing, I don't think he's playing," Trump said at the White House, alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "It's never gone this far."

Kim on Friday became the first North Korean leader to step foot in South Korea when he crossed the border to shake the hand of South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Formal end of war

The two leaders agreed to work toward removing all nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula and vowed to pursue talks that would formally end the Korean War.

North Korea has in the past made similar commitments about its nuclear program but failed to follow through. Asked whether Pyongyang's commitment was real this time, Trump said, "We're not going to get played."

"This isn't like past administrations. We don't play games," said Trump, adding that previous administrations had been "played like a fiddle."

The summit comes weeks ahead of a possible Kim-Trump meeting. The diplomacy represents a remarkable step back from what many had considered to be the brink of nuclear war.

Trump said the U.S. would be "setting up a meeting very shortly," but didn't specify a timeline. He said officials were considering two or three possible sites for the summit, but didn't mention which ones.

"We will come up with a solution, and if we don't, we will leave the room," Trump added.

'Maximum pressure'

The White House sees the diplomatic progress as the result of its "maximum pressure" campaign, which included heavy sanctions and frequent threats of military force. Trump had said he was prepared to "totally destroy" North Korea if necessary.

"Things have changed very rapidly from a few months ago – you know, the name-calling and a lot of other things," Trump said Friday.

For now, the threats have faded. But it's not clear how much North Korea is willing to offer at the talks or what it will demand in return.

On Friday, Moon and Kim's statement said the two leaders "confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free peninsula."

After the meeting, Trump tweeted his support for the talks, saying "good things are happening, but only time will tell!"

Fifteen minutes later, Trump tweeted: "KOREAN WAR TO END! The United States, and all of its GREAT people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!"

"I think the responsibility has fallen on the shoulders of the president of the United States," Trump said alongside Merkel. "I think I have a responsibility to see if I can do it."

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