Trump willing to meet Kim Jong-un under right circumstances

In a big surprise to many, President Trump has expressed his willingness to meet with the North Korean leader if the circumstances were right.

"There's a lot of conditions that I think would have to happen with respect to its behavior, and to show signs of good faith", Spicer said. "Clearly the conditions are not there right now".

The Army weapon known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, has been ready to shoot down a threatening North Korean missile as of Sunday, the official said on the condition of anonymity.

Trump, who took office in January, had said during his presidential campaign he would be willing to meet with Kim.

While North Korea can still learn a lot from a failed missile test and use those lessons to advance their program, they've failed to demonstrate capability with missile types the U.S. perfected in the 1970s - and cyber espionage may be to blame. He urged members of the United Nations to "suspend or downgrade diplomatic relations with North Korea".

The regime will continue bolstering its "pre-emptive nuclear attack" capabilities unless Washington scrapped its hostile policies, the spokesman said in a statement carried by the state-run KCNA news agency.

Especially with tensions between America and North Korea increasing - despite recent mixed signals from the Trump administration that hint at a possible solution.

The timing of such a forceful approach by the Trump administration must shock overall, political and military leaders in South Korea, especially with upcoming elections in the offing after the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. She discussed the country's nuclear program with Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, in 2000.

"We hope that Trump will be more careful with his words", it said in an editorial.

Tension on the Korean peninsula has been high for weeks over fears the North may conduct a long-range missile test, or its sixth nuclear test, around the time of the April 15 anniversary of its state founder's birth.

United States officials confirmed they had tracked the medium range weapon, which may have been nuclear capable, and that President Trump had been informed.

Earlier, North Korea's Foreign Ministry said the country will speed up measures to bolster its nuclear program "at the maximum pace" in response to the new US policy that calls for new sanctions and "maximum pressure and engagement".

The US Congress plans to debate new sanctions against Pyongyang this week, targeting its shipping industry.

North Korea's "measures for bolstering the nuclear force to the maximum will be taken in a consecutive and successive way at any moment and any place decided by its supreme leadership", the spokesman said.

The regime of Kim Jong Un does not care a large number of the missile tests have failed, USA officials told NBC.

In a failed test, a missile was launched from Pukchang Airfield north of the capital Pyongyang at about 9.30pm GMT on Saturday.

Nuclear tests were conducted in 2013 and twice previous year, and it is estimated that North Korea has enough fissile material for 10 to 15 nuclear devices.

The last senior US official to meet with North Korean leader was Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who visited with Kim Jong Il in 2000 to discuss the country's nuclear program. He said the prepared to defend itself and its allies, but they want to work toward a "peaceable solution". Seoul insists that under a bilateral arrangement, Washington is responsible for the installation, operation and maintenance of THAAD while it provides the land to host it.

More than North Korean tests, China is anxious about the possibility of an unpredictable Trump initiating unilateral action which could create an escalatory spiral.

Trump did not say what such circumstances are and when he might meet Kim.

"Now we also made it clear all options are on the table", he warned. The United States has more than 28,000 service members stationed in South Korea.

  • Larry Hoffman