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May 21, 2018

Trump hopes Korea talks go 'beyond the Olympics'

Trump hopes Korea talks go 'beyond the Olympics'
'US President Donald Trump voiced optimism about upcoming talks between North and South Korea, as he responded to reporters' questions at the Camp David retreat in Maryland' - By: AFP SAUL LOEB

US President Donald Trump said Saturday that he hopes rare talks between North and South Korea will go "beyond the Olympics," with Washington joining the process at the "appropriate time."

The two Koreas are planning to hold their first official dialogue in more than two years to discuss the North's participation in next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea.

"I would love to see them take it beyond the Olympics," Trump said at a news conference at the Camp David presidential retreat. "And at the appropriate time, we'll get involved."

The planned dialogue comes after the North's leader Kim Jong-Un warned in his New Year speech that he had a nuclear button on his desk, but also said Pyongyang could send a team to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, which open on February 9.

Seoul responded with an offer of talks, and earlier this week the hotline between the neighbors was restored after being suspended for almost two years.

The meeting is set to take place Tuesday in the truce village of Panmunjom.

In recent months, the North has held multiple missile launches and conducted its sixth nuclear test -- purportedly of a hydrogen bomb -- in violation of UN resolutions banning such activity by the isolated nation.

Trump has at times taken a provocative stance toward Kim, trading personal insults with the North Korean leader and threatening to utterly destroy his regime with "fire and fury." But at other times he has called for diplomacy and a peaceful resolution to the situation.

"(Kim) knows I'm not messing around... not even a little, not even one percent. He understands that," Trump told reporters Saturday.

"(But) if something can happen and something can come out of those talks, that would be a great thing for all of humanity. That would be a great thing for the world."

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