US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley says there is “no turnaround” in President Donald Trump’s policy towards North Korea, after her boss appeared to soften his stance by expressing willingness for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The US president’s remarks at the presidential resort at Camp David on Saturday came weeks after he wrote on Twitter that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.”
“There is no turnaround,” Haley told ABC News
on Sunday. “What he has basically said is, yes, there could be a time where we talk to North Korea, but a lot of things have to happen before that actually takes place.”
Trump’s UN envoy said the North had to stop its missile and nuclear warhead tests before any negotiations could be arranged.
Echoing Trump, who has blamed his predecessors’ lax stance as a contributing factor in the North’s military advancements, Haley said what the current US administration was “trying to do is make sure we don’t repeat what’s happened the last 25 years.”
“We’re going to be smart this time. We’re going to make sure that whatever happens makes the United States
safer and make sure that we denuclearize the peninsula,” she said.
During his high-profile visit to China in early November, Trump had called for “the entire civilized world” to join forces for “complete denuclearization” of Pyongyang.
When asked about direct conversation with Kim, however, Trump said at Camp David that he would “absolutely” do so.
“Sure, I always believe in talking,” Trump stated. “Absolutely I would do that, I wouldn’t have a problem with that at all.”
Continuing with his threats, the US president also underlined that Kim “knows I’m not messing around. I’m not messing around, not even a little bit, not even 1 percent. He understands that.”
In a rather odd message after the Korean leader’s New Year message, in which he said there is always a nuclear button on his desk, Trump tweeted last week that his nuclear button was “a much bigger and more powerful one.”
Haley defended Trump’s tweet, saying it was meant to “keep Kim on his toes.”