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Trump visits South Korea, urges North to 'make a deal'

08 Nov 2017 | By Anupama Vijayakumar
Trump signals willingness to negotiate with North Korea

US President Donald Trump landed in South Korea yesterday, the second stop in his ongoing East Asia tour.

While observers expected Trump to continue with his aggressive rhetoric with North Korea, he took a rather conciliatory tone.

He warned the North that the US is prepared to utilize its full military power if needed, while also urging it to "make a deal."

In context: Trump signals willingness to negotiate with North Korea

07 Nov 2017#TrumpInAsia: 'Era of strategic patience with North Korea is over'

On November 6, US President Donald Trump held discussions with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe on crucial matters of bilateral and global concern.

However, as expected, his discussions with Abe focused largely on North Korea.

Trump described the North's nuclear antics as "a threat to the civilized world."

Speaking alongside Abe, he indicated that "the era of strategic patience with Pyongyang is over."

08 Nov 2017Trump visits South Korea, urges North to 'make a deal'

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ContextGrowing nuclear threats from North Korea

In July, North Korea tested an Inter-continental ballistic-missile (ICBM) which purportedly brought the entire US within its strike range.

In August, it threatened to launch a nuclear attack on the US-Pacific territory of Guam in response to Trump threatening it with "fire and fury."

In September, Pyongyang tested a Hydrogen-bomb in its sixth and most powerful test and fired a second missile over Japan.

DetailsSouth Korea gives Trump red carpet treatment

Trump and First Lady Melania Trump landed at the Osan air base outside the capital city of Seoul.

They were then welcomed in an elaborate ceremony at the Blue House in Seoul by top officials, including President Moon Jae-in.

He later proceeded to Camp Humphreys, located about 100 km from the North Korean border and interacted with American troops and inspected US military assets.

Trump speaksWhat did Trump say?

Speaking in Seoul, Trump stated that he wouldn't hesitate to use the US's full military might against the North while adding that he "hopes to god" that he doesn't have to resort to that option.

"It really makes sense for North Korea to come to the table and make a deal," he added while urging Pyongyang to "do the right thing."

TalksTrump to Moon: "May your dreams come true"

Addressing reporters at the president's official residence, the Blue House, Trump praised Moon for his "great cooperation" despite past differences of opinion over handling North Korea.

Moon stated that he hoped Trump's visit would reduce the South's anxieties.

At a state dinner hosted at the Blue House, Trump raised a toast to Moon and said, "Mr President, may your dreams come true."

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ConclusionNorth Korea crisis: Is Trump open to negotiations now?

Trump has so far not shied away from engaging in a war-of-words with Kim Jong-un. In fact, he has expressed his disdain towards diplomacy as a means to handling North Korea multiple times.

Signalling openness to negotiations marks a positive shift in Trump's approach.

However, Kim is unlikely to negotiate, at least until Pyongyang perfects its missile capabilities to achieve a credible nuclear deterrence.