US President Donald Trump has said he is ready to talk to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un leader, whom he called the "little rocket man" not long ago.

Trump said he is even open to having a telephone conversation with Kim if it can help ease tensions in the Korean peninsula, which has been witnessing a high-decibel war of words in recent months.

"Sure, I always believe in talking," Trump told reporters during a wide-ranging press conference at Camp David. "But we have a very firm stance. Look, our stance, you know what it is. We're very firm. But I would be, absolutely I would do that. I don't have a problem with that at all."

However, he quickly stepped back and clarified when a journalist asked whether that means he does not want any prerequisite for the meeting with Kim. He said: "It's not what I said at all. [Kim] knows I'm not messing around. I'm not messing around. Not even a little bit. Not even 1%. He understands that. At the same time, if we can come up with a very peaceful and very good solution, we're working on it... with a lot of people."

Trump was flanked by Vice President Mike Pence, his cabinet colleagues and Republican leaders from the House and the Senate.

Trump's remarks come amid signs that the North is ready for talks. Pyongyang has agreed to reopen the hotline with its rival South Korea and the first direct high-level talks are set to take place on 9 January.

Both Kim and Trump have exchanged harsh words since Trump entered the White House, precluding the possibility of a face to face meeting in the near future.

Kim had called Trump a "dotard", meaning a senile or old man, while Trump had described the North Korean leader as the "little rocket man". Besides, Trump recently boasted that his nuclear button is "bigger" and "more powerful" after Kim had revealed he has the nuclear button on his desk.

donald trump
US President Donald Trump says he would be willing to engage in talks with North Korea Tom Pennington/Getty Images