Donald Trump said on Saturday he would “absolutely” be willing to talk on the phone to Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader.
North Korea agreed on Friday to hold official talks with South Korea next week, the first in more than two years, hours after Washington and Seoul delayed a military exercise amid a standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes.
Mr Trump, answering questions from reporters at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, expressed a willingness to talk to Mr Kim but not without preconditions.
“Absolutely, I would do that,” said Mr Trump. “I have no problem with that at all.”
The two foes have exchanged insults ever since Mr Trump took office, with the American president repeatedly calling Mr Kim “rocket man” for testing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
Earlier this week Mr Trump dismissed Mr Kim’s taunt that the North Korean leader has a nuclear button on his desk, saying he has a bigger button.
The talks between North Korea and South Korea are expected to cover the Winter Olympics, to be held in South Korea next month, and inter-Korean relations.
Mr Trump suggested the talks might lead to an easing of tensions and took credit for the diplomatic breakthrough, saying it was a result of his steady pressure.
“Look, right now they’re talking Olympics. It’s a start, it’s big start. If I weren’t involved they wouldn’t be talking at all right now,” he said.
“If 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,” he said.