After revealing last night that a high-level US official (later revealed to be Mike Pompeo) had engaged in direct talks with Kim Jong Un, President Trump was back with more bombastic rhetoric during his second press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – focusing again on his upcoming talks with North Korea.
This time, Trump said he would abandon the unprecedented summit if he felt the talks wouldn’t be fruitful, and that, if the talks failed to produce results, he would respectfully leave the meeting. Pompeo had forged a “good relationship” with Kim Jong Un, Trump said. The meeting went “very smoothly”.
“If we don’t think it’s going to be successful, we won’t have it,” Trump said at a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday.
“If I don’t think it’s a meeting that’s going go be fruitful, we won’t go. If the meeting when I’m there is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting.”
Though Trump didn’t say what would make the summit a success when asked by a reporter, and he didn’t answer a question about whether he would demand the return of three Americans being held in North Korea – though Bloomberg reported that Pompeo had discussed the prisoners during his meeting with Kim Jong Un.
Abe is particularly concerned about securing the return of Japanese citizens who were kidnapped by the North Korean regime, and Trump pledged to Abe that “we will work hard on that issue.”
Of course, denuclearization is still the ultimate goal, and Trump reaffirmed that “Our campaign of maximum pressure will continue until North Korea denuclearises.”
After saying five possible locations were being discussed, White House aides told Bloomberg that an unknown location in Sweden and Geneva, Switzerland are two of the locations under consideration. Areas in Asia and Southeast Asia are also being discussed. One person said the US isn’t considering Beijing, Pyongyang, Seoul or Panmunjom, the site of the Korean armistice signing in 1953. South Korean President Moon Jae-in is scheduled to meet Kim at Panmunjom next week – the first trip south of the border by a North Korean leader since the armistice. That meeting is supposed to lay the groundwork for the Trump-Kim summit.
The two sides are discussing plans to end the Korean war.
Earlier in the day, Trump and Abe hit the links, producing what we imagine will be one of the most enduring images of the Trump presidency:
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