U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Sunday downplayed the import of President Trump's Saturday indication that he is willing to directly negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if certain prerequisites are met.
"There is no turnaround" in Washington's position on North Korea, Haley said in an interview on ABC's This Week. "What he has basically said is, 'Yes, there could be a time where we talk to North Korea, but a lot of things have to happen before that actually takes place. They have to stop testing. They have to be willing to talk about banning their nuclear weapons. Those things have to happen.' What we're trying to do is make sure we don't repeat what's happened the last 25 years."
By contrast, Trump's comments suggested personal negotiations could be a near-term possibility. "I always believe in talking," the president said Saturday. "We have a very firm stance — look, our stance, you know what it is. We're very firm, but ... absolutely I would do that." Trump has repeatedly suggested this sort of direct diplomacy with Pyongyang, but he also regularly vacillates toward the more aggressive approach Haley favors, as in this past week's tweet boasting of about the size of his "nuclear button."
Read The Week's Paul Waldman on the extreme improbability North Korea would assent to Haley's list of demands.