Donald Trump took questions from global media during a surreal, 60-minute media session after his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Singapore.
Here are some of the key comments from his session:
- “We’ve had a tremendous 24 hours, a tremendous three months actually,” Trump said. “My meeting with Chairman Kim was honest, direct and productive.”
- Trump said Kim is “already destroying a major missile site”. This detail was not in their joint declaration because the two leaders agreed it after the document was signed, he said.
- “We can replace the horrors of battle with the blessings of peace,” Trump continued. “There’s no limit to what North Korea can achieve when it gives up its nuclear weapons,” he said. “Anyone can make war, but only the most courageous can make peace.”
- The President also added that without Otto Warmbier “this wouldn’t have happened”. Otto Warmbier was the student arrested in North Korea but who came home in a coma – his parents allege torture.
- In response to a question about Kim’s violent and dictatorial past, Mr Trump said that Kim is “very talented” and “very smart and a good negotiator.” He came to power at a young age and ran a country, and “ran it tough”. Trump admitted that Kim isn’t necessarily a “nice” man, however.
- Trump said Kim Jong-Un has agreed that the remains of U.S. soldiers in North Korea will be returned. “I asked for it today and we got it.”
- Trump said sanctions will continue on North Korea and that U.S. soldiers will remain in South Korea and Japan.
- When asked whether human rights were discussed in his meeting with Kim, Trump says they were, “briefly”. He said Kim “wants to do things” in this area.
- Trump said he wants an end to “costly” and “provocative war games” between the U.S., South Korea and North Korea. He says the joint military exercises between South Korea and the U.S. will be scaled back, a potentially significant concession which has prompted plenty of speculation on social media.
- Trump said he hasn’t slept in 25 hours due to the negotiations.
- When asked why he didn’t secure better guarantees from North Korea, Trump said there was “no time” to secure the details because he was only in Singapore “for one day”. He said “We haven’t given up anything” other than agreeing to meet Kim Jong-Un. “Only a person that dislikes Trump would say we’ve agreed to make a big commitment,” he said. He said the meeting was “great” for the U.S. and “good” for North Korea.
- Trump said he discussed North Korea’s real estate potential with Kim.
- He said he will call his “friend” the Chinese premier Xi Jinping when he returns to Washington in order to discuss the summit. He will also speak to South Korean premier Moon Jae-in. He has already sent the latter the declaration document.
- Trump acknowledged that Kim has reneged on promises in the past but said he believes this time will be different because he is a different kind of President. He said he may admit in six months he got Kim’s response wrong but added he will come up with “some excuse” if that happens.
- The President discussed a wide range of topics during the media session including Iran, China, Justin Trudeau, the G7 summit, trade deals and Angela Merkel. The typically surreal media event also included a number of jokes, tangential anecdotes and first-name badinage with, and flattery of, reporters. In response to one question, Trump said he has “one of the greatest memories of all time.”
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