Trump open to talks with Kim Jong Un

In an exclusive interview, presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he'd willing to talk to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to try to stop Pyongyang's nuclear programme.
A combination photo shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) and Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump.
A combination photo shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) and Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK • Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he is willing to talk to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to try to stop Pyongyang's nuclear programme, proposing a major shift in US policy towards the isolated nation.

In a wide-ranging interview with Reuters on Tuesday, he also called for a renegotiation of the Paris climate accord, said he disapproved of Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions in eastern Ukraine, and said he would seek to dismantle most of the US Dodd-Frank financial regulations - a package of financial reforms put in place after the 2007-2009 financial crisis - if he is elected president.

The presumptive Republican nominee declined to share details of his plans to deal with North Korea, but said he was open to talking to its leader. "I would speak to him, I would have no problem speaking to him," he said. Asked whether he would try to talk some sense into Mr Kim, he replied: "Absolutely."

On Russia, Mr Trump tempered past praise of Mr Putin, saying the nice comments the leader has made about him would only go so far. "The fact that he said good things about me doesn't mean that it's going to help him in a negotiation. It won't help him at all," he said.

Mr Trump also said he is "not a big fan" of the Paris climate accord, which prescribes reductions in carbon emissions by more than 170 countries. He said it treats the US unfairly and gives favourable treatment to countries like China.

"I will be looking at that very, very seriously, and at a minimum I will be renegotiating those agreements, at a minimum. And at a maximum, I may do something else."

On the Dodd-Frank package, he said it "is a very negative force, which has developed a very bad name".

He claimed income of more than US$557 million (S$766 million) over the last year, according to his news release on Tuesday to announce he had filed his required annual financial disclosure with the Federal Election Commission.

But the campaign did not release the document. Unlike other candidates, he has declined to release his tax returns, saying he will do so after the Internal Revenue Service completes an audit.

Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton's campaign released her financial disclosure after Mr Trump's news release. She earned more than US$5 million in royalties for her 2014 memoir, Hard Choices, and roughly US$1.5 million delivering speeches last year.

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK TIMES

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 19, 2016, with the headline 'Trump open to talks with Kim Jong Un'. Print Edition | Subscribe