North Korea's not ready to negotiate - Trump

Trump and Kim.
Trump and Kim. Photo credit: Reuters

US President Donald Trump says he knows North Korea wants to negotiate with the United States, but he does not think it is ready to do so.

"The relationship continues ... I know they want to negotiate, they're talking about negotiating. But I don't think they're ready to negotiate," Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday.

He said "nobody is happy" about North Korea's latest missile launch.

Trump's comments came as the Justice Department announced on Thursday it has seizedamjor cargo vessel belonging to North Korea known as the Wise Honest, which officials allege violated US and United Nations sanctions by illicitly shipping coal from North Korea.

The ship, which was first confiscated by other foreign maritime authorities in Indonesia in April 2018, is now in the possession of the US and is currently approaching US territorial waters, a Justice Department official said.

The 15,000-tonne ship, which also was used to deliver heavy machinery to North Korea, is one of the country's largest bulk carriers, the Justice Department said.

The case marks the first time the US has seized a North Korean cargo vessel for violating sanctions.

"This sanctions-busting ship is now out of service," John Demers, the head of the Justice Department's National Security Division, said in a statement.

According to UN sanctions monitors, the Wise Honest was transporting 23,000 tonnes of coal when it was detained by Indonesia in April 2018.

The UN report estimated the value of the ship's coal cargo was around US$3 million.