INSTANT VIEW-Trump ready to meet North Korea's Kim - South Korea
March 9 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump is ready to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by May in response to Kim's invitation to hold the first-ever U.S.-North Korea summit, a South Korean envoy said, marking a potentially dramatic breakthrough in the North Korea nuclear standoff.
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Following are reactions from politicians, officials and analysts.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM, REPUBLICAN, ON TWITTER:
"After numerous discussions with President Trump, I firmly believe his strong stand against North Korea and its nuclear aggression gives us the best hope in decades to resolve this threat peacefully.
"I am not naïve. I understand that if the past is an indication of the future, North Korea will be all talk and no action. However, I do believe that North Korea now believes President Trump will use military force if he has to.
"A word of warning to North Korean President Kim Jong Un – the worst possible thing you can do is meet with President Trump in person and try to play him. If you do that, it will be the end of you – and your regime."
BONNIE GLASER, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES:
"Trump is a deal maker and probably believes he can single-handedly convince Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons. A Trump meeting with Kim presents both risks and opportunities. The U.S. side needs to be very, very well prepared and know exactly what it wants to achieve, as well as what the U.S. is willing to provide in return."
ED ROYCE, REPUBLICAN CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
"Kim Jong Un's desire to talk shows sanctions the administration has implemented are starting to work. We can pursue more diplomacy, as we keep applying pressure ounce-by-ounce. Remember, North Korean regimes have repeatedly used talks and empty promises to extract concessions and buy time. North Korea uses this to advance its nuclear and missile programs. We've got to break this cycle. The United States and South Korea must stand shoulder-to-shoulder in applying the sustained pressure needed to peacefully end this threat. And Beijing must do its part."
DANIEL RUSSEL, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC:
"Let's hear from the North Koreans themselves what they are proposing and what they are willing to do. There is plenty of reason to be cautious, given their track record. Second, let's read the fine print. The North has made peace overtures in the past that did not hold up under scrutiny.
"Also remember that the DPRK has for many years proposed that the President of the United States personally engage with North Korea's leaders as an equal - one nuclear power to another. What is new isn't the proposal, it's the response."
MARK DUBOWITZ, CEO OF WASHINGTON'S FOUNDATION FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES THINK TANK:
"The administration's maximum pressure campaign and rhetoric may be yielding results. We should be very cautious: North Korea has said these things before - Kim Jong Il wanted to meet with President Clinton. Pyongyang has to be serious about denuclearization. In the meantime the Trump administration should continue using the toughest sanctions to maintain maximum pressure before the summit in May."
KO KWANG-HEE, DIRECTOR AT SOUTH KOREA’S FINANCE MINISTRY:
"It's a relief to markets and definitely boosts sentiment but foreign investors would wait out until May to change any major investment decisions as any real progress will be shown then."
"It could give a positive signal to potentially relieve the so-called Korea discount."
HONG CHUN-UK, CHIEF ECONOMIST, KIWOOM SECURITIES, SEOUL:
"It's good news. No doubt. But this will likely prove to be only a short-lived factor unless more and stronger actions follow. The market's (KOSPI) reaction appears stronger today than usual, but all of this is not attributable to the North Korea news. This came at a time when there is a growing hope that earnings slowdown with Korean companies may be less severe than expected before."
TRINH NGUYEN, SENIOR ECONOMIST, NATIXIS IN HONG KONG:
"This is certainly good news for financial markets, particularly for South Korea, as it signals progress, although the degree of thawing of tensions remain to be seen."
"We, and investors, have always believed that the North Korea crisis would not materially impact investment in South Korea as a conflict is unlikely even if tensions simmer."
"Investors will be cautious on excessive enthusiasm in a similar vein to excessive pessimism in recent escalation of tensions."
"This alleviates, at least for the short-term, one issue for South Korea's growth recovery. In other words, we do not expect this to change our growth projection for South Korea, which is 2.8 percent for 2018."
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom in Washington; Cynthia Kim and Choonsik Yoo in Seoul; Masayuki Kitano in Singapore Editing by John Mair and Kim Coghill)
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