More Americans Approve of Trump's Handling of North Korea: Poll

Updated | As President Donald Trump places his biggest bet—bringing North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un to the negotiating table—more Americans increasingly support how he has sought to defuse tensions with the rogue regime, a new poll has found.

Forty-two percent of Americans are now more confident in how Trump is handling North Korea after his surprise announcement last week that he will meet Kim in a high-stakes meeting by May to discuss its nuclear weapons program, according to the CBS poll.

Yet Tuesday's poll points out that despite the proposed meeting, 64 percent of Americans still express "unease about possible conflict."

The poll also reports that Trump's approval rating on gun policy and the Russia investigations is at 37 and 31 percent, respectively. His rating on the economy is 46 percent.

While no sitting American president has met with a North Korean leader since the Korean War ended in 1953, this encounter may prove to be the ultimate test for an administration that has called the self-proclaimed nuclear nation a top threat to U.S. security.

Last November, Kim tested a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile and demonstrated it was capable of striking the U.S. mainland. Bringing tensions to a new high, the leaders then traded barbs and threats.

A South Korean envoy delivered Kim's invitation to Trump as they met last week in the Oval Office. When news broke that he had accepted Pyongyang's invitation for a meeting, Trump tweeted on Thursday about "great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!"

Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2018

North Korea is currently under tight international sanctions in an effort to further isolate it and halt its expanding nuclear capability. In 2006, the United Nations began imposing sanctions on the repressive regime, but as North Korea forged ahead with its nuclear and missile developments in defiance of international pressures, sanctions have cut deeper.

Previous administrations have tried to use a sanctions regime but have not been successful. The Trump administration has enacted additional, targeted sanctions to end Kim's nuclear ambitions, and last month it rolled out the "heaviest sanctions ever imposed on a country before," as Trump put it. Economic sanctions were delivered against 56 companies, ships and individuals linked to North Korea and were expected to deliver a big blow as the U.S. carries out its "maximum pressure" strategy.

In the meantime, Kim has pledged to "refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests," according to a South Korean official. But CIA chief Mike Pompeo, now chosen to become Trump's next secretary of state, has warned that the administration has its eyes "wide open" because of past "empty promises" from the North Koreans.

At a weekend rally, Trump told the audience that he felt North Korea wants "to make peace. I think it's time. And I think we've shown great strength."

This article was updated to include information on other results of the poll.