NEW YORK, May 17 (Reuters) – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Tuesday he is willing to talk to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to try to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear program, proposing a major shift in U.S. policy toward the isolated nation.
In a wide-ranging interview with Reuters, 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 said he was open to a face-to-face meeting with its leader.
“I would speak to him, I would have no problem speaking to him,” Trump said of Kim.
North Korea’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump‘s remarks.
Trump also said he would press China, Pyongyang’s only major diplomatic and economic supporter, to help find a solution.
“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.
Trump‘s preparedness to meet Kim contrasts with President Barack Obama’s policy of relying on senior U.S. officials to talk to senior North Korean officials. Obama has not engaged personally with Kim.
The New York billionaire said he is “not a big fan” of the Paris climate accord, which prescribes reductions in carbon emissions by more than 170 countries, and would want to renegotiate it because it gives favorable treatment to countries like China.
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 nations to reining in the rise in greenhouse gas emissions blamed for warming the planet.
On Russia, Trump tempered past praise of Putin, saying the nice comments the Russian leader has made about him in the past would only go so far.
“The fact that he said good things about me doesn’t mean that it’s going to help him in a negotiation. It won’t help him at all,” he said.
Turning to the economy, Trump said he planned to release a detailed policy platform in two weeks that would propose dismantling nearly all of Dodd-Frank, a package of financial reforms put in place after the 2007-2009 financial crisis.
“Dodd-Frank is a very negative force, which has developed a very bad name,” Trump said.
Trump said he perceived a dangerous financial bubble within the tech startup industry. He said tech companies were attaining high valuations without ever making money.
On the U.S. Federal Reserve, Trump said that while he eventually wants a Republican to head it, he is “not an enemy” of current chair Janet Yellen, who was appointed by Obama.
“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, a position championed by former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. 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.