Trump: Talks with North Korea 'under the right conditions'

U.S. President provides cautious response to North Korea's offer of talks.

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Ben Ariel,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday provided a cautious response to North Korea's offer of talks, saying they would take place "only under the right conditions."

"We have been very tough with them," Trump said at the White House, according to AFP.

"So they want to talk," Trump said, claiming that was a "first" and adding, "We'll see what happens."

Trump did not spell out his conditions for talks.

His comments came a day after Pyongyang signaled its willingness to return to the negotiating table.

A delegation from North Korea, which was in South Korea for the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics, said developments in relations between the two Koreas and between North Korea and the United States should go hand in hand.

The Olympics gave a boost to recent engagement between the two Koreas after more than a year of sharply rising tensions over the North's missile program and its sixth and largest nuclear test in defiance of UN sanctions.

A North Korean delegation also visited the South for the start of Olympics. The delegation, which included North Korea leader Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, held talks with the leadership of the South.

While U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was also in South Korea at the time, he avoided contact with the North Koreans and later said he did not greet the delegation given that North Korea was "the most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet."

Trump's administration has embarked on a policy of "maximum pressure" to convince the North to abandon threatening missile and nuclear programs.

Trump has pointedly refused to rule out military action, much to the concern of South Korea.

North Korea is seeking to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have taunted each other through the media in recent months.

In the most recent of its ongoing missile tests, North Korea launched a Hwasong-15 missile, a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which officials said can fly over 13,000 km (8,080 miles).

Pyongyang said following the launch that it had test-fired its most advanced missile, putting the U.S. mainland within range, and also declared itself to be "a responsible nuclear power".

Kim claimed in January that his country has developed the capability to hit the entire U.S. mainland with its nuclear weapons.

“The entire United States is within range of our nuclear weapons, and a nuclear button is always on my desk. This is reality, not a threat,” Kim said in a televised New Year’s Day speech.

President Donald Trump later fired back, writing on Twitter, “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”