President Donald Trump told reporters that he would be willing to speak with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un while speaking from Camp David Saturday.
Trump's comments come one day after the Kim regime agreed to South Korea's proposal for the first high-level talks in more than two years. Trump noted that it would "be a great thing for all of humanity" if something positive resulted from the new talks. He also noted he would be willing to engage with Kim himself, should the opportunity arise.
"I always believe in talking," said Trump, when asked by a reporter if he would speak with the North Korean leader. "Our stance, you know what it is. We're very firm. But I would be -- absolutely, I would do that. No problem with that, at all."
President Trump on if he would be open to talking on the phone with Kim Jong Un: "I always believe in talking. Our stance, you know what it is. We're very firm. But I would be -- absolutely, I would do that. No problem with that, at all." https://t.co/Wh1BDY3wJ1 pic.twitter.com/PiCL4LVL9y— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 6, 2018
Trump added that Kim knows he's "not messing around." He also criticized former President Bill Clinton's approach, noting that "you have to be prepared to do certain things."
It's a stark contrast from Trump's previous statements regarding Kim, whom he has heavily criticized and derided as "rocket man." Trump has also warned North Korea in August that it would be met with "fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before," should it continue its provocative nuclear and missile programs.
The impending talks between South Korea and North Korea offer a glimmer of hope after a year of extremely tense relations. North Korea's multiple missile and nuclear tests, combined with Trump's tough talk, had many worried conflict could ensue. One issue on the agenda surrounds "issues related to improving inter-Korean relationships, including the Pyeongchang Olympic Games," said South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-Seoul, as reported by CNN.
"I hope it works out, I very much want to see it work out between [North Korea and South Korea," said Trump.