President Donald Trump speaks to reporters at the White House, Friday, June 15, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Latest: Trump vows to avert nuclear war 'at all costs'

June 15, 2018 - 3:19 pm
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and North Korea (all times local):

3:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump says in a video message defending his nuclear agreement with North Korea's Kim Jong Un that he must pursue a chance to avert nuclear conflict "at all costs."

Trump says: "Our world has seen more than enough conflict. If there's a chance at peace, if there's a chance to end the horrible threat of nuclear conflict, then we must pursue it at all costs."

With the broad agreement facing skepticism from allies and the press, Trump is under pressure to sell it. The agreement includes a pledge by the North to denuclearize, but no timetable has yet been given for the completion of that process.

Trump says in the video that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is beginning talks with the North on implementing the accord.

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10:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump said he wants his people to "sit up at attention" when he speaks, just like North Korea's Kim Jong Un (kim jawng oon), but later said he'd meant the comment in jest.

Trump said during an interview outside the White House Friday that Kim's power should not be underestimated.

Trump says, "Hey, he's the head of a country, and I mean he is the strong head. Don't let anyone think anything different."

He went on to say that when Kim speaks, "his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same."

Trump had been answering a question about whether Kim might some day visit the White House.

But Trump later chastised a reporter who asked about the remark, saying he was "kidding" and the reporter didn't "understand sarcasm."

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9:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump says North Korea has started returning the remains of U.S. soldiers missing during the Korean War. Speaking with Fox News on the North Lawn of the White House, Trump defended his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying "they are already starting to produce the remains of these great soldiers."

The president also said returning a military salute to a North Korean three-star general was being respectful. Says Trump: When Kim speaks "his people sit up for attention. I want my people to do the same."

Trump challenged criticism of his vague joint statement with Kim. He said he got "everything" in the deal.

Trump also said meeting with Kim was important.

"If you don't agree to meet, you know what you will have? You will have nuclear war," he said.

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