Excerpts: Remarks by President Trump and President Moon Jae-in

President Donald Trump meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, April 11, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Excerpts President Trump Remarks

Oval Office

April 11, 2019

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.  It’s a great honor to have President Moon of South Korea with us and a very, very great privilege to have Mrs. Kim.  Thank you very much.  Very much.  We hope you enjoy your stay.

We are discussing many, many important things, including, obviously, North Korea, the relationships with North Korea.  I had, in many respects, a very good meeting.  We did not fulfill what we wanted to, but in many ways, we — certain things were agreed to.

My relationship is very good with, as you know, Chairman Kim.  And I think that it will go on that way.  We’ll see.  We’ll probably know.  But we’ll be discussing that.  We’ll be discussing trade, military, military purchases.  South Korea buys a great deal of equipment from us, especially military equipment.

……

I just do want to tell you that great progress has been made and a great relationship has been made in North Korea too.  Kim Jong Un has been, really, somebody that I’ve gotten to know very well and respect, and hopefully — and I really believe that, over a period of time, a lot of tremendous things will happen.

I think North Korea has a tremendous potential, and I believe that President Moon agrees with that.  And we will be discussing that and even potential meetings, further meetings, with North Korea and Kim Jong Un.

Thank you very much.  I have to go just one step further and I want to thank China, who’s really helped us a lot at the border.  I also want to thank Russia because they have helped us, and they’ve helped us quite a bit more than people think, at the border.  So both China and Russia have really been quite good.  That doesn’t mean they can’t get better, but they’ve been quite good at the border.  And I just want to thank both of those countries.

As we’ve said, a lot of progress has been made.  We will have further dialogue and I look forward to it.  My relationship with Kim Jong Un has been a very strong relationship.  I’ve had some very strong relationships with others, but I have a very, very good relationship with Kim Jong Un, and I think you see that.

And we’ll see what happens.  Hopefully, it will end up in a great solution for everybody, and ultimately a great solution for the world.  Because it is about the world.  It’s more than just this area.  It’s about the world.  And, frankly, the world is watching.

I want to thank you for your leadership.  Your leadership has been outstanding.  And I look forward to talking about other things also, and in particular, all of that equipment that you’re buying.  We like that in the United States.  We like that you buy our great equipment.  So again, thank you very much.  And thank you for your leadership.

Q    Mr. President, on economic projects for South Korea and North Korea, are you willing to allow some leeway in relaxing sanctions so that South Korea can pursue some more economic projects with North Korea?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, we are discussing certain humanitarian things right now, and I’m okay with that, to be honest.  I think you have to be okay with that.  And South Korea is doing certain things to help out with food and various other things for North Korea.  And we’ll be discussing different things inside.

Again, the relationship is a much different relationship than it was two years ago — you remember what that was all about — and certainly during the Obama administration, where nuclear weapons were being tested often, where rockets and missiles were being sent up, in many cases, over Japan.  And we are in a much different situation right now.

So we’ll be discussing that very much, actually.

Q    Mr. President, do you have the third summit with North Korea’s Chairman in mind?  And does that also include —

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  It could happen.  A third summit could happen.  And it’s step by step.  It’s not a fast process; I’ve never said it would be.  It’s step by step.

I enjoy the summits.  I enjoy being with the Chairman.  I think it’s been very productive.  And it really is — it’s a step by step.  It’s not going to go fast.  I’ve been telling you that for a long time.  If it goes fast, it’s not going to be the proper deal.

Q    Is a three-way summit with the leaders of the two Koreas also (inaudible)?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, that could happen also.  I think that would be largely dependent on Chairman Kim, because President Moon will do what’s necessary.  I know President Moon has been fighting this battle for a long time.  He’s done an excellent job.  I consider him a great ally.

Q    (As interpreted.)  How much do you support my President’s push for economic concessions, which include the resumption of the joint inter-Korean industrial complex and perhaps even the (inaudible)?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, at the right time, I would have great support.  This isn’t the right time.  But at the right time, I’d have great support with North Korea.  Great support.  I think that South Korea, and I think Japan, and I think that the U.S. — I think a lot of countries will be helping.  China, I really believe, will help.  I think that Russia will help.  I think a lot of countries will help.

When the right deal is made, and when the nuclear weapons are gone, I just think that North Korea has potential as great as anything I’ve ever seen in terms of potential.  They have an unbelievable location — surrounded by sea on two sides, and on the other side, Russia, China, and over here, South Korea.  You just can’t do better than that.  And they have magnificent land.  It has tremendous potential.

Q    Is your position still that sanctions should stay in place on North Korea until there is denuclearization?  Or are you willing to consider easing sanctions to keep the talks going?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  No, we want sanctions to remain in place.  And frankly, I had the option of significantly increasing them.  I didn’t want to do that because of my relationship with Kim Jong Un.  I did not want to do that.  I didn’t think it was necessary.  As you know, a couple of weeks ago, I held it back.  But I think that sanctions are, right now, at a level that’s a fair level.  And I really believe something very significant is going to happen.  We could always increase them, but I didn’t want to do that at this time.