Donald Trump gears up for 12 June meet with North Korea's Kim Jong-un, says summit will be 'much more than photo-op'

Washington: US president Donald Trump on Thursday said that he was "well-prepared" for the much awaited summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on 12 June in Singapore and asserted that the meeting would be "more than a photo-op".

Singapore has designated a special event area of the Sentosa island tourist resort for Tuesday's historic summit, which is expected to be covered by over 2,500 journalists from across the world.

There was initially much uncertainty over whether the summit would go ahead at all, and it was briefly called off last month by Trump after a dispute with the North Koreans over the key issue of denuclearisation.

"I think I'm very well prepared. I don't think I have to prepare very much. It's about the attitude. It's about willingness to get things done. But I think I've been preparing for the summit for a long time," Trump told reporters in a brief joint media appearance with visiting Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe in the Oval Office.

"As has the other side... They've been preparing for a long time, also. So this isn't a question of preparation, it's a question of whether or not people want it to happen, and we'll know that very quickly," he said.

File image of Donald Trump. AP

File image of US president Donald Trump. AP

Responding to a question, the US president said it will be more than a photo-op.

"Well, it's gonna be much more than a photo-op. I think it's a process. I've told you that many times before. I think it's not a one meeting deal. It would be wonderful if it were.

"They've been doing this for a long time. They've got a lot of enemies out there. A lot of dislike, a lot of hatred between countries. This will not be just a photo-op. This will be at a minimum, we'll start with perhaps a good relationship," Trump said.

And that's something very important toward the ultimate making of a deal, he said.

"I'd love to say it could happen in one deal, maybe it can," he said.

Trump insisted that North Korea has to denuclearise.

"They have to denuke. If they don't denuclearise, that will not be acceptable. We cannot take sanctions off. The sanctions are extraordinarily powerful, we cannot – and I could add a lot more, but I don't, I've chosen not to do that at this time. But that may happen," he said.

"By the way, with Iran, we're adding tremendously powerful sanctions. They understand that very well. I think Iran already is not the same country.

"So, it's a big difference. It was number one nuclear, but also out of it, you also get the side benefit that Iran is a different place," he said in response to a question.

Trump said that this is something that should have been handled many years ago by other presidents.

"We are going to have a great success. I don't think it will be in one meeting. I think it'll take longer than that. This has been going on for many, many decades,"

The denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula would usher in a new era of prosperity, security and peace for all Koreans, North and South and for people everywhere, he said.

Responding to a question, Trump said that it is very well possible that the summit could see the signing of an agreement to end the Korean war.

Both Japan and South Korea, Trump said, has told him they are going to go and they will help the North Koreans economically, tremendously.

Responding to a question, Trump said that the maximum pressure is absolutely in effect.

"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. I just don't think it's nice, going in under those circumstances," Trump said.

Abe is visiting the White House for talks with Trump ahead of the next week's US-North Korea Summit.

The 12 June Singapore summit with the North Koreans was one of the major topics of discussion between the two leaders at the White House on Thursday.

Abe heads to Canada from Washington to attend the G-7 Summit. Trump would also be attending the G-7 summit after which he would travel to Singapore.

Abe strongly hoped that this historic summit in Singapore will be a resounding success.

"Today with President Trump, our discussion was focused on issue of North Korea. What should we do as we approach the coming US-North Korea summit, as well as for the peace and stability of Northeast Asia after the summit."

"I'm not able to talk about the details of what we discussed. But one thing I can say is that Japan and the United States are always together," Abe said.

Multiple US and North Korean teams are holding simultaneous meetings ahead of the Singapore Summit.

More than 2,500 people from the local and international news media are expected to cover the event in Singapore, according to the number of registrations received by the ministry of communications and information.

The summit is taking place following a rapid detente between Pyongyang and Seoul and Washington. Tensions had soared last year after the North conducted missile and nuclear tests.


Updated Date: Jun 08, 2018 09:18 AM

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