Trump: 'I Don't Think I Have to Prepare Much' for Kim Summit

And more big lines from president's appearance with Japan PM Shinzo Abe
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 7, 2018 4:23 PM CDT
Trump: 'I Don't Think I Have to Prepare Much' for Kim Summit
President Donald Trump, right, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe walk back towards the Oval Office following a news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Thursday, June 7, 2018.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Heading into his North Korea summit with characteristic bravado, President Donald Trump said Thursday that "attitude" is more important than preparation as he looks to negotiate an accord with Kim Jong Un to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, the AP reports. Preparing to depart Washington for the next week's meeting, Trump dangled before Kim visions of normalized relations with the United States, economic investment and even a White House visit. Characterizing the upcoming talks with the third-generation autocrat as a "friendly negotiation," Trump said, "I really believe that Kim Jong Un wants to do something." Trump's comments came as he looked to reassure allies that he won't give away the store in pursuit of a legacy-defining deal with Kim, who has long sought to cast off his pariah status on the international stage. The North has faced crippling diplomatic and economic sanctions as it has advanced development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. More quotes from Trump's press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with whom Trump was set to discuss summit preparations:

  • "I don't think I have to prepare very much," Trump said. "It's about attitude. It's about willingness to get things done." But, he added, "I think I've been prepared for this summit for a long time, as has the other side. I think they've been preparing for a long time also. So this isn't a question of preparation, it's a question of whether or not people want it to happen."
  • Declaring the summit to be "much more than a photo-op," Trump predicted "a terrific success or a modified success" when he meets with Kim next Tuesday in Singapore. He said the talks with Kim would start a process to bring about a resolution to the nuclear issue. "I think it's not a one-meeting deal," he said. Asked how many days he's willing to stay to talk with Kim, Trump said, "One, two three, depending on what happens."
  • Still, Trump forecast that he'll know very quickly whether Kim is serious about dealing with US demands. "They have to de-nuke," Trump said. "If they don't denuclearize that will not be acceptable. And we cannot take sanctions off."
  • Trump, who coined the term "maximum pressure" to describe US sanctions against the North, said they would be an indicator for the success or failure of the talks. "We don't use the term anymore because we're going into a friendly negotiation," Trump said. "Perhaps after that negotiation, I will be using it again. You'll know how well we do in the negotiation. If you hear me saying, 'We're going to use maximum pressure,' you'll know the negotiation did not do well, frankly."

  • Trump said he would "certainly" invite Kim to visit the United States if the summit goes well, but that he is also "totally prepared to walk" if things don't go well, noting that he "did it once before." As for where he would invite Kim, he said "maybe we'll start with the White House" rather than his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.
  • Trump said that despite press reports, former NBA star Dennis Rodman isn't invited to the summit and that he won't be playing golf with Kim. Trump said of Rodman: "I like him. He's a nice guy. No, he was not invited."
  • He also addressed a mysterious oversized letter from Kim delivered by a top North Korean official last week. Trump said Thursday that the letter was "a very warm letter" and "very nice." He said it was "just a greeting" and "nothing other than" that. Trump had told reporters last week after his meeting with the official that the letter was "very interesting," but moments later said he actually hadn't read it.
  • Trump did note that though the meeting with Kim appears to be on, it is still subject to change. "I hope it continues on this track," though, he said. "If it does the world will be a very happy place." He said he hopes the meeting will be "very fruitful" and "exciting" and noted that it could lead to a "bright new future" for North Korea and the world.
  • He closed the news conference by paying tribute to the family of Otto Warmbier, the American college student who suffered brain damage while in North Korean custody and died days after he arrived back home in 2017. Trump pledged that Warmbier "has not died in vain."
(More North Korea stories.)

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