The White House rushed to qualify Donald Trump’s declaration that he’d gladly meet Kim Jong Un, a day after the US President praised the North Korean leader for his intelligence.
In an interview with Bloomberg News on Tuesday morning (AEST), President Trump said meet Kim “under the right circumstances”.
“If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honoured to do it,” he said.
He added “under the right circumstances I would meet with him”.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said clearly the conditions for a meeting between President Trump and Kim weren’t appropriate, and the US would need to see North Korea’s provocative behaviour “ratcheted down immediately”.
Mr Spicer said Washington wanted to see North Korea end its provocative behaviour immediately.
“Clearly conditions [for a meeting] are not there right now,” he added.
In a taped interview broadcast Sunday US time on CBS’ Face the Nation, the President offered praise for Kim Jong-Un’s political resilience, if not his sanity.
“People are saying, ‘Is he sane?’ I have no idea,” the Mr Trump said.
The US President said despite North Korea’s latest failed rocket launch Pyongyang will eventually develop better missiles, and “we can’t allow it to happen”.’
Declining to discuss the possibility of military action, Mr Trump described the world’s diplomacy with North Korea as “a chess game”
“I just don’t want people to know what my thinking is,” he said.
Tensions with North Korea have escalated recently as American and other intelligence agencies have suggested the country was readying a possible nuclear test.
The Trump administration has said all options, including a military strike, are on the table.
Civil War confusion
In a separate interview, President Trump has made puzzling claims about the American Civil War, suggesting he is uncertain about the origin of the conflict.
The President said he wondered why issues “could not have been worked out” in order to prevent the secession of 11 Southern states and a war that lasted four years and killed more than 600,000 soldiers.
“People don’t realise, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why?” Mr Trump said in an interview with The Washington Examiner, according Tuesday morning.
“People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”
Mr Trump suggested that if Andrew Jackson had been president “a little later, you wouldn’t have had the Civil War”.
“[Jackson] was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War. He said, ‘There’s no reason for this,”‘ the President said.
Andrew Jackson died in 1845. The Civil War didn’t begin until 16 years later in 1861.
– With agencies