WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday met for 80 minutes in the Oval Office with a general he described as the second most powerful man in North Korea. Afterward, Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn that the June 12 summit in Singapore between him and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, was back on.
This is what President Trump told the media about their Oval Office Meeting.
President Trump: “We’ll be meeting on June 12 in Singapore. It went very well. It’s really a get-to-know-you kind of a situation. Mike has spent two days doing this. We’ve gotten to know their people very well. And we will — you people are going to have to travel because you’ll going to be in Singapore on June 12. And I think it’ll be a process. It’s not — I never said it goes in one meeting. I think it’s going to be a process. But the relationships are building, and that’s a very positive thing.”
Question: “You appeared to question their sincerity in your letter to Kim Jong Un last week. Have they gone far enough now, are they sincere?”
President Trump: “Well, don’t forget, my letter was a response to their letter. The media forgot that, you know. The media said, ‘Oh, you had a meeting and then you canceled.’ I didn’t cancel the meeting. I canceled it in response to a very tough statement, and I think we’re over that, totally over that. And now we’re going to deal, and we’re really going to start a process. We’re meeting with the chairman on June 12, and I think it’s going to be a very successful, ultimately a successful process. We’ll see. Remember what I say, we will see what we will see. But I think it’s going to be a process that we deserve to have, I mean we really deserve to have. They want it, we think it’s important, and I think we would be making a big mistake if we didn’t have it. I think we’re going to have a relationship, and it’ll start on June 12.”
Question: “Do you believe Kim is committed to denuclearization?”
President Trump: “Yeah, I do think so. He’d like to see it happen. He wants to be careful, he wants to be, you know, he’s not going to run and do things, but I told him look, to be honest with you, we have sanctions on, they’re very powerful sanctions. We would not take sanctions off unless they do that, but the sanctions are very powerful. You’ve seen how powerful. In other ways, you’re going to see how powerful sanctions are when it comes to Iran. You see what that’s doing to Iran. So we have sanctions on, and at a certain point, I’ll tell you what, I look forward to the day when I can take the sanctions off of North Korea.”
Question: “Yesterday you were concerned about the meeting Lavrov was having with Kim Jong Un.”
President Trump: “I didn’t like it.”
Question: “Where are you on that today?”
President Trump: “I didn’t like it, but it could be very positive, too. I didn’t like the Russian meeting yesterday. I said ‘What’s the purpose of that?’ But it could be a positive meeting. If it’s a positive meeting, I love it. If it’s a negative meeting, I’m not happy, and it could very well be a positive meeting.”