May 1 (UPI) — Just two days after inviting his controversial Philippines counterpart to the White House, President Donald Trump on Monday said he would be “honored” to meet North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un “under the right circumstances.”
“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it,” Trump said Monday in an interview with Bloomberg. “If it’s under the right circumstances. But I would do that.”
It’s the first time since taking office Trump has expressed a willingness to meet with Kim. Last year, then-candidate Trump said he would negotiate directly with the controversial North Korean leader.
“Most political people would never say that,” Trump said in Monday’s interview, “but I’m telling you under the right circumstances I would meet with him. We have breaking news.”
“Clearly, conditions are not there right now,” Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said during his daily news briefing Monday. “We’ve got to see their provocative behavior ratchet down immediately. There’s a lot of conditions that I think would have to happen with respect to its behavior and to show signs of good faith.”
In an interview with the Washington Times last week, Trump called the North Korean leader a “pretty smart cookie.”
Human rights advocates criticized the invitation as an endorsement by Trump of Duterte’s policies.
On Monday, Duterte said he might be too busy to accept Trump’s invitation because he was “tied up” with a busy schedule.
“I cannot make any definite promise,” he said. “I’m supposed to go to Russia; I’m also supposed to go to Israel.”
The White House said Trump plans to visit the Phillipines in November.