Remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister Abe of Japan in Joint Press Conference

Remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister Abe of Japan in Joint Press Conference

(Excerpts)

Issued on: June 7, 2018

Rose Garden

2:22 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT TRUMP: … As I prepare to meet next week with Kim Jong Un — and I want to bring up the fact that the Prime Minister Abe and, also, President Moon of South Korea were extremely helpful, cooperative, and they’d like to see something happen.  It would be great for North Korea, South Korea.  It would be great for Japan, the United States, and the world.  Our partnership has been invaluable in reaching this important moment, and we will continue to be in very close communication in the weeks ahead, including the issue of Japanese abductees, which I know is of great personal importance to Prime Minister Abe.

I hope the upcoming meeting in Singapore represents the beginning of a bright new future for North Korea and indeed a bright new future for the world.  The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula would usher in a new era of prosperity, security, and peace for all Koreans — for North and South — and for people everywhere….

Q    ….  On the subject of North Korea, how far are you willing to go, in terms of economic security, political guarantees with Kim?  Are you willing to move down the road toward normalizing relationships, normalizing relations with North Korea, as the Prime Minister suggested he was willing to at some point?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  …[W]e’re going to have a great success.  I don’t think it will be in one meeting.  I think it will take longer than that.  This has been going on for many, many decades.

As far as the Prime Minister is concerned, we will agree and we have agreed that we’re going to be helping — if the deal is done, we’re going to be helping North Korea.  We’re going to be working with China.  We’re going to be working with South Korea.

President Xi of China has been terrific.  The border has been certainly more closed than ever before.  I’d like them to close it a little bit more, but it’s been more closed than ever before.  China has never worked with us this way.  And, you know, I give him a lot of credit because, as you know, we’re in a dispute as to the imbalance of trade.  It’s a massive imbalance in China’s favor.  It’s been that way for many decades, and it should have also been handled by previous Presidents.  But it wasn’t, so we’ll handle that too.

But I give President Xi tremendous credit, and I give President Moon tremendous credit.  He really would like to see something happen.  They’ve been living with the threat of war from their beginning, and it doesn’t make sense.  And I really believe that Kim Jong Un wants to do something.  I think he wants to see something incredible happen for the people of North Korea.

….

Q    Again, Mr. President, would you be willing to go so far as to normalize relations with North Korea?  And what about the idea of signing some sort of an agreement on the 12th to end the war?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, it could be.  We could sign an agreement.  As you know, that would be a first step.  It’s what happens after the agreement that really is the big point.

But, yes, we could absolutely sign an agreement.  We’re looking at it.  We’re talking about it with them.  We’re talking about it with a lot of other people.  But that could happen.  But that’s really the beginning.  Sounds a little bit strange, but that’s probably the easy part; the hard part remains after that.

Q    And normalizing relations?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Normalizing relations is something that I would expect to do, I would hope to do, when everything is complete.  We would certainly hope to do that.

I know that Prime Minister Abe and President Moon have told me, very strongly, that they are going to go and they will help them economically, tremendously.  Japan has a tremendous stake and so do they.  We, on the other hand, are very far away.  We’re very, very far away.

But Japan will be helping.  I believe China will be helping economically, also.  And I think China wants to see something very good happen, very positive happen.  And certainly, South Korea has already stated their intentions.  They will be very helpful.

So there are lot of good factors lined up for North Korea.  A lot of tremendous factors that give it tremendous potential.  It has tremendous potential because the people are great.  And we would certainly like to see normalization, yes.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  ….  Maximum pressure is absolutely in effect.  We don’t use the term anymore because we’re going into a friendly negotiation.  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.  There’s no reason to say it.

We, in the meantime, haven’t removed any sanctions.  We have a list of over 300 massive, in some cases, sanctions to put on North Korea.  And I’ve decided to hold that until we can make a deal, because I really believe there’s a potential to make a deal.  And I just don’t think it’s nice going in under those circumstances.

But, yes, the campaign hasn’t changed.  China has continued to hold the border.  We, again, would like them to do more in that sense.  But they’ve been really good, and the President has been very good.  But maximum sanction is there.  We are leaving all of the existing sanctions on.  We have many, many sanctions to go, but I don’t want to use them unless it’s necessary.  And I don’t think it will be necessary, but we will soon know.