Trump calls for peace with North Korea

US President says he could be friends with Kim Jong Un

HANOI: US President Donald Trump yesterday called for peace with North Korea but acknowledged Pyongyang has continued to provoke America and the world with its nuclear threats.

"We want progress, not provocation," he said. "I mean we have been provoked. The world has been provoked."

Speaking alongside Vietnam's president, Mr Tran Dai Quang, Mr Trump said in live updates published by CNN: "We don't want that. We want stability, not chaos. And we want peace, not war."

He said that it was possible he could be friends with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un one day and that it would be "very, very nice", but he was not sure that it would happen, reported Reuters.

Asked at a news conference in Vietnam if he could see himself being friends with Kim, Mr Trump said: "That might be a strange thing to happen but it's a possibility.

"If it did happen it could be a good thing I can tell you for North Korea, but it could also be good for a lot of other places and be good for the rest the world."

Mr Trump had marked the Vietnam War in Hanoi yesterday, touting the fact that the United States have "achieved peace" out of "war and conflict".

He said: "This month we mark Veterans Day in the United States and out of war and conflict, we have achieved a deep friendship, partnership and we have achieved peace."

If I can help mediate or arbitrate, please let me know.US President Donald Trump offering to be a mediator between claimants to the South China Sea

Mr Trump also said that he was prepared to mediate between claimants to the South China Sea, which include Vietnam and China.

"If I can help mediate or arbitrate, please let me know," he said in comments carried by pool reports.

Mr Trump acknowledged that China's position on the South China Sea, nearly all of which is claimed by Beijing, was a problem.

"I'm a very good mediator and arbitrator," he said.

He also said that China was helping to resolve tensions over North Korea and added he hoped Russia would do the same.

In August, foreign ministers of South-east Asia and China adopted a negotiating framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea, a move they hailed as progress but one seen by critics as a tactic to buy China time to consolidate its maritime power.

The framework seeks to advance a 2002 Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, which has mostly been ignored by claimant states, particularly China, which has built seven man-made islands in disputed waters, three of them equipped with runways, surface-to-air missiles and radars.

All parties say the framework is only an outline for how the code will be established.

But critics say the failure to outline as an initial objective, the need to make the code legally binding and enforceable. - WIRE SERVICES

Trump trades 'short and fat' jibe with Kim

HANOI: US President Donald Trump has said that he would never call Mr Kim Jong Un "short and fat", after months of trading personal insults and threats of war with the North Korean leader.

"Why would Kim Jong Un insult me by calling me 'old', when I would never call him 'short and fat?' Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!" Mr Trump tweeted.

Mr Trump also tweeted that Chinese leader Xi Jinping had agreed to toughen sanctions against North Korea over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.

"President Xi of China has stated that he is upping the sanctions against (North Korea)," Mr Trump tweeted from Hanoi.

China has made no sanctions announcement in recent days, and it was unclear if Mr Trump was referring to statements Mr Xi may have made during their summit in Beijing last week, or when they met at Apec in Danang.

On Saturday, Pyongyang hit back, calling Mr Trump's Asia trip "a warmonger's visit for confrontation" and saying it would only serve to accelerate Pyongyang's push for nuclear statehood. - WIRE SERVICES

Trump asked Putin about polls meddling

MOSCOW: Mr Donald Trump directly asked Russian President Vladimir Putin during their talks at a weekend summit in Vietnam whether allegations of Russian meddling in last year's US presidential election were true, RIA news agency reported yesterday.

The US President said yesterday that he believed Mr Putin's denial of the accusations despite the view of US intelligence agencies that Russian interference did take place.

Mr Trump later distanced himself from his remarks.

According to RIA, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, when asked how Mr Trump had raised the question about alleged Russian meddling, said: "In fact, Mr Trump asked whether that information could be true, how true it could be. President Putin, for his part, explained his position, which is that Russia did not interfere."

Mr Putin also said he did not understand "the groundless statements on the issue being made in the United States", Mr Peskov added.

Earlier yesterday in Vietnam, Mr Trump attempted to clear up confusion over whether he accepted Mr Putin's denials.

"As to whether I believe it or not, I'm with our agencies, especially as currently constituted," Mr Trump said at a news conference with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang. 

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