Trump has 'no problem' talking with Kim Jong-un

Donald Trump (Reuters)
Donald Trump (Reuters)

By Steve Holland and Emily Flitter

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is willing to talk to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to try to stop Pyongyang's nuclear program, Trump has told Reuters in an interview.

In a wide-ranging discussion, Trump also said he disapproved of Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions in eastern Ukraine, called for a renegotiation of the Paris climate accord, and said he would dismantle most of the Dodd-Frank financial regulations if he is elected president.

The presumptive Republican nominee declined to share details of his plans to deal with North Korea, but a meeting with Kim would mark a major shift in US policy towards the isolated country.

"I would speak to him, I would have no problem speaking to him," Trump said of Kim.

"At the same time I would put a lot of pressure on China because economically we have tremendous power over China," he said in the half-hour interview at his Trump Tower office in Manhattan.

China is Pyongyang's only major diplomatic and economic supporter.

Trump said the United States is treated unfairly in the Paris climate accord, which prescribes reductions in carbon emissions by more than 170 countries.

A renegotiation of the pact would be a major setback for what was hailed as the first truly global climate accord, committing both rich and poor countries to reining in the rise in greenhouse gas emissions blamed for warming the planet.

Turning to the economy, Trump said he planned to release a detailed policy platform in two weeks.

He said it would dismantle nearly all of Dodd-Frank, a package of financial reforms put in place after the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

"I would say it'll be close to a dismantling of Dodd-Frank. Dodd-Frank is a very negative force, which has developed a very bad name," Trump said.

The New York billionaire also said he perceived a dangerous financial bubble within the tech start-up industry. He said tech companies were attaining high valuations without ever making money.

Trump also said he eventually wants a Republican to head the US Federal Reserve, but said he is "not an enemy" of current chair Janet Yellen.

"I'm not a person that thinks Janet Yellen is doing a bad job. I happen to be a low-interest rate person unless inflation rears its ugly head, which can happen at some point," he said, adding that inflation "doesn't seem like it's happening any time soon".

Trump said he would maintain the current level of benefits for Social Security recipients.

He said he would not raise the retirement age or impose a sliding scale of benefits depending on income levels.

He said the depleted Social Security Trust Fund would be replenished by the increased tax revenue that would flow into the government from the higher job growth spurred by his economic policies.

An aide to US Democrat Hillary Clinton responded by criticising Trump's foreign policy as making "no sense for the rest of us".

"Let me get this straight: Donald Trump insults the leader of our closest ally, then turns around and says he'd love to talk to Kim Jong-un?" senior foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

"I suppose that makes sense for him, since he also praised Kim Jong-un for executing his uncle and seems to have a bizarre fascination with foreign strongmen like Putin and Kim. His approach to foreign policy makes no sense for the rest of us."