.@POTUS Trump thanks Prime Minister @AbeShinzo for his support, discusses U.S.-Japan cooperation on #NorthKorea, defense, and trade, and affirms close friendship between the United States and #Japan. Watch the full press conference on https://t.co/jP34FEu9Lp pic.twitter.com/thgONHFwKC— Department of State (@StateDept) April 19, 2018
President Donald Trump stated he is positive about his historic summit meeting North Korean autocrat Kim Jong Un but also willing to walk away if meeting is not “fruitful.”
"If we don't think it's going to be successful, we won't have it. If the meeting when I'm there isn't fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting,” the president confirmed.
Talking to the reporters alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump boasted of achieving something none of his predecessors have been able to do.
"We've never been in a position like this with that regime, whether it's father, grandfather or son," he said.
He insisted that his approach towards the momentous meeting, which will tackle the infamous topic of denuclearization, remains “flexible.”
"I like always remaining flexible," Trump said. "We'll remain flexible here."
However, ever since Trump’s agreement to hold direct talks with North Korean leader, his allies have been deeply concerned, warning Trump this might be another ploy by Kim to garner time to build more nuclear weapons. Abe’s visit to America confirms the allies’ worries regarding the meeting.
The meeting has been friendly, so far, with both leaders enjoying time with their wives at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate and taking each other on at the Trump International Golf Club but tensions prevailed between the two, with Trump paying little attention to Abe’s warnings and moving forward with the meeting scheduled for late May or early June.
"Hopefully that meeting will be a success and we are looking forward to it. We will be doing everything possible to make it a worldwide success,” Trump said.
Trump did promise the Japanese prime minister he will discuss the matter of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea when he talks one-on-one with Kim.
"Abduction is a very important issue for me,” he said.
Abe insisted Trump agreed with him on maintaining pressure on North Korea until demands of denuclearization have been met.
"Maximum pressure should be maintained," Abe said. "President Trump and I were in full agreement."
Abe’s visit came as Trump prepares to meet the North Korean despot. Experts have already warned the president of “undue high expectations” from the meeting.
“I wouldn't say optimism is called for right now. I would be very cautious because ... what North Korea expects out of this summit and what the U.S. expects may not be potentially aligned. Optimism is the last word I would use for this,” said Sue Mi Terry, a former CIA analyst and North Korea expert.
The preparations for the meeting are already underway with Trump confirming CIA director and his pick for secretary of state Mike Pompeo made a visit to North Korea to meet with Kim during the Easter weekend. He claimed the meeting went “very smoothly.”
Trump’s growing desire to meet Kim was evident when he was asked whether he would attend the meeting without demanding the release of three Americans being held in North Korea. He refrained from making any commitments.
"We're fighting very diligently to get the three American citizens back. There's a chance of having a good dialogue ... we're working very hard on that. We have come a long way with North Korea," Trump said.
According to CNN, Trump’s basic agenda of denuclearization for the meeting has expanded by Abe’s request for adding a prohibition on missile testing. Missiles from North Korea have landed in the waters surrounding Japan.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque