U.S. President Donald Trump struck an optimistic note about the possibility of a denuclearized North Korea on Wednesday.
Trump said his CIA director Mike Pompeo “got along really well’’ with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a secret meeting in Pyongyang.
“He just left North Korea, had a great meeting with Kim Jong Un, and got along with him really well, really great. … He is that kind of guy. He is really smart, but he gets along with people,” Trump told reporters at his Florida report.
“As I’ve said before, there is a bright path available to North Korea when it achieves denuclearization in a complete and verifiable and irreversible way,” Trump said. “We hope to see the day when the whole Korean Peninsula can live together in safety, prosperity and peace.”
But he cautioned that if his talks with Kim do not go the way he hopes, he was willing to walk away.
WATCH: Trump, Abe Express Hope for Successful U.S.-North Korean Summit
“If we don’t think it’s going to be successful, we won’t have it,” Trump said, adding: “If the meeting, when I’m there is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting.”
He also revealed that negotiations were under way for the release of three Americans being held by Pyongyang.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is visiting Trump at his Florida home, praised the president Tuesday for agreeing to hold a summit with Kim, saying the move took “courage.”
Trump said “that will be taking place probably in early June or a little before that, assuming things go well. It’s possible things won’t go well, and we won’t have the meetings, and we’ll just continue to go along this very strong path that we’ve taken.”
Shortly after, in an extended bilateral meeting with Abe, Trump revealed that in preparation for the summit “we have also started talking directly to North Korea. We have had direct talks at extremely high levels.” But that response did not mention Kim by name.
Trump also said Seoul has his blessing to try to negotiate with Pyongyang an end to the 1950s Korean War.
Active combat in the war ended in 1953 with an armistice signed by the United States (which commanded the United Nations forces), North Korea and China. South Korea was not a signatory, and the two Koreas have never established diplomatic relations.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim are scheduled to hold a summit April 27. A senior South Korean presidential official said Wednesday the peace talks are a possible subject, but that the discussion of formally ending the war would need to involve the other relevant parties.
Trump and Abe golfed at one of the president’s nearby private courses Wednesday morning before more formal bilateral talks on trade. The two are to hold a joint news conference in the early evening.
According to Larry Kudlow, assistant to the U.S. president for economic policy, “a lot of key issues are on the line” during the two days of talks between Trump and Abe.
The discussions Tuesday at Trump’s resort off Florida’s Atlantic coast focused on North Korea and turned to trade issues Wednesday, according to White House officials.
Japanese officials also want to avoid having Trump try to link any trade negotiations to security matters, a separation strictly maintained during decades of post-World War II diplomacy between the former enemies. But Trump has frequently stated that military allies, such as Japan and South Korea, should pay more for American forces defending them.
“I don’t think Prime Minister Abe will leave Mar-a-Lago with anything other than a high degree of confidence in the alliance,” said Matt Pottinger, senior director for Asian affairs on the National Security Council.
There is disappointment in Japan that despite the close relationship between Trump and Abe, the U.S. government has not exempted Tokyo from tariffs placed on steel and aluminum imports.
“It will be under discussion,” Kudlow told reporters. “It’s a key point on the agenda.”
On a related topic, “the United States would probably like to see a free trade agreement (with Japan) come out at some point,” Kudlow told reporters early Tuesday afternoon just hours before Trump and Abe met.
The economic adviser also said that “there’s nothing at all concrete” yet on the United States returning to what was the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Trump has opposed the TPP and reiterated that stance in a tweet late Tuesday.
Japan is one of the countries that agreed to join the trade pact, but South Korea is not.