Trump urges North Korea to 'make a deal' on nuclear weapons

US President Donald Trump has urged North Korea to "make a deal" to rein in its nuclear weapons programme.

During a trip to neighbouring South Korea, Mr Trump said he had seen "a lot of progress" in dealing with Pyongyang, though he stopped short of saying whether he wanted direct diplomatic talks.

"It makes sense for North Korea to come to the table and make a deal that is good for the people of North Korea and for the world," Mr Trump said at a news conference with South Korean president Moon Jae-in.

"I do see certain movement."

Mr Trump was winding down his visit to Seoul on Wednesday with an address to South Korea's National Assembly, where he was expected to outline his view of dangers posed by the North's nuclear weapons programme.

The next stop on his five-nation Asian tour is Beijing, where he will press China to constrict the North's economic lifeblood.

Mr Trump also teased he had a surprise in store for Wednesday, saying at a Tuesday-evening banquet that he had an "exciting day" planned "for many reasons that people will find out".

The president sounded an optimistic note on disagreements with the North, saying confidently, if vaguely: "Ultimately, it'll all work out."

North Korea has fired off more than a dozen missiles this year but none in nearly two months, with analysts urging caution against reading too much into the pause.

There is no public sign of any diplomatic progress between Washington and Pyongyang.

US officials say the back channel between the State Department and the North Korean mission at the United Nations in New York remains intact, but contacts have not been substantive other than achieving the release of American college student Otto Warmbier in June. He died days after his repatriation to the US.

Mr Trump did note the United States' military options, mentioning that three aircraft carrier groups and a nuclear submarine had been deployed to the region.

He said "we hope to God we never have to use" the arsenal.

Mr Moon, who has been eager to solidify a friendship with Trump, said he hoped the president's visit would be a turning point in the stand-off with North Korea.

The president began his day with a visit to Camp Humphreys, a joint US-Korean military base where he shook hands with American and Korean service members, and ate lunch with troops in a large mess hall.

When he leaves South Korea, Mr Trump flies to Beijing for what the White House sees as the centrepiece of his trip.

China is North Korea's largest trade partner and Mr Trump is expected to press its leaders to curtail their dealings with Pyongyang and to expel North Korean workers from its borders.

Mr Trump has praised China for adopting tough United Nations sanctions against North Korea but has urged it to do more.

AP


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