Trump says he looks forward to talks with North Korea’s Kim

Posted at 6:35 PM, Apr 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-18 18:35:50-04

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that planned talks with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un are at the top of his agenda.

“Hopefully that meeting will be a success and we are looking forward to it,” the President said, standing alongside his Japanese counterpart at Trump’s oceanfront Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

“We will be doing everything possible to make it a worldwide success,” he said. “We hope it all works out and we’ll be trying very hard.”

Insisting he wouldn’t “repeat the mistakes of previous administrations,” Trump called for ridding the world of nuclear weapons, not just in North Korea.

“We have to get it together. We have to end nuclear weapons, ideally in all parts of the world,” he said.

The summit with Abe comes as the President prepares for historic talks with Kim, a prospect that Abe has warned will come with risks.

The two men conferred about the matter Tuesday alongside top national security aides. Talks on Wednesday focused on trade, including the possibility of exempting Japan from new US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

In between, Trump and Abe enjoyed a nearly five-hour round of golf at the nearby Trump International Golf Club.

Both men put forward displays of bonhomie during their extensive time together. Abe routinely referred to the President as “Donald,” while Trump expounded on the friendship he has developed with the Japanese leader. They strolled the Mar-a-Lago croquet lawn with their wives before dinner Tuesday.

But tensions were visible. During remarks ahead of Wednesday’s trade talks, Trump delivered a stern warning about unfair economic practices and vowed to stand up for American workers. And he paid little heed to Abe’s warnings about North Korea — instead indicating that preparations for talks are moving forward rapidly.

As the two men sat for dinner Tuesday, it was revealed that Mike Pompeo, Trump’s CIA director and pick for secretary of state, had traveled to North Korea for preliminary talks with Kim early this month. And Trump had said earlier in the evening that officials had identified five possible venues for the summit.

The President has stressed that he’ll focus on denuclearization in his talks with Kim. But Abe has worked to gain a commitment that missile testing will also be on the agenda. Intermediate range missiles test-launched by North Korea have landed in the waters off Japan.

“Japan and ourselves are locked, and we are very unified on the subject of North Korea,” Trump said Tuesday.