President Trump says he's willing to make peace through dialogue with North Korea if conditions are right.
That's what he told South Korea' special envoy to the U.S., Hong Seok-hyun, at the White House, where Trump reportedly made clear he does not support talks for their own sake.
"President Trump said he hopes to work closely with President Moon to resolve the North Korea nuclear issue and get a result."
Trump's choice of the word 'peace' regarding the North Korea issue has also shed light on whether there is room for change in Washington's current North Korea policy of "maximum pressure and engagement."
To some this has raised anticipation of how close the positions of Presidents Moon and Trump will be when they hold their first summit next month.
"There have been very significant sanctions and pressure on North Korea and now there is atmosphere for dialogue between North Korea and the United States. So I think in order to have an important influence on the U.S. policy on North Korea there should be close coordination and dialogue with President Trump as soon as possible."
While Trump and special envoy Hong mainly discussed the big picture, Hong and National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster also briefly talked about THAAD.
"I said there is a controversy about procedural problems in the course of the deployment, and I talked about the need for this issue to be discussed at the National Assembly."
The costs of THAAD were not brought up in that discussion,. and McMaster was said to have expressed understanding about the procedural issues.
THAAD has risen as a key pending issue with Washington recently after Trump said Seoul should pay a staggering one billion U.S. dollars for the system -- a cost that no agreement says South Korea is responsible for.
Hong will spend the rest of his four-day trip to the U.S. meeting with senior government officials and North Korea experts to lay the groundwork for Moon and Trump's much anticipated one-on-one meeting next month.
Connie Kim, Arirang News.