It’s a great place, has the potential to be an incredible place between South Korea, and if you think about it and China, it’s got tremendous potential, and I think he understands that and he wants to do what’s right. And it’s my honor today to address the people of the world following this very historic summit with Chairman Kim Jong Un of North Korea.
We’ve spent very intensive hours together, and I think most of you have gotten the signed document or you will very shortly. It’s very comprehensive, it’s going to happen. I stand before you as an emissary of the American people to deliver a message of hope and vision and a message of peace.
Let me begin by thanking our incredible hosts in Singapore, especially Prime Minister Lee, a friend of mine. This is a country of profound grace and beauty, and we send our warmest wishes to every citizen of Singapore who really made this visit so important and so pleasant, in spite of all of the work and all the long hours.
I also want to thank President Moon of South Korea. He’s working hard, in fact, I’ll be speaking to him right after we’re finished.
Prime Minister Abe of Japan, a friend of mine, just left our country. And he wants what’s right for Japan and for the world. Good man.
And a very special person, President Xi of China, who has really closed up that border maybe a little less so over the last couple of months, but that’s okay. But he really has and he’s a terrific person and a friend of mine and really a great leader of his people.
I want to thank them for their efforts to help us get to this very historic day. Most importantly, I want to thank Chairman Kim for taking the first bold step toward a bright new future for his people. Our unprecedented meeting, the first between an American president and a leader of North Korea, proves that real change is indeed possible.
My meeting with Chairman Kim was honest, direct and productive. We got to know each other well in a very confined period of time under very strong, strong circumstance. We’re prepared to start a new history, and we’re ready to write a new chapter between our nations.
Nearly 70 years ago, think of that, 70 years ago, an extremely bloody conflict ravaged the Korean Peninsula. Countless people died in the conflict, including tens of thousands of brave Americans. Yet while the armistice was agreed to, the war never ended to this day, it never ended. But now, we can all have hope that it will soon end, and it will. It will soon end.
The past does not have to define the future. Yesterday’s conflict does not have to be tomorrow’s war. And as history has proven over and over again, adversaries can indeed become friends. We can honor the sacrifice of our forefathers by replacing the horrors of battle with the blessings of peace, and that’s what we’re doing, and that’s what we have done.
There is no limit to what North Korea can achieve when it gives up its nuclear weapons and embraces commerce and engagement with the rest of the world that really wants to engage. Chairman Kim has before him an opportunity like no other, to be remembered as the leader who ushered in a glorious new era of security and prosperity for his people.
Chairman Kim and I just signed a joint statement in which he reaffirms his unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We also agreed to vigorous negotiations to implement the agreement as soon as possible, and he wants to do that. This isn’t the past. This isn’t another administration that never got it started and, therefore, never got it done.
Chairman Kim has told me that North Korea is already destroying a major missile engine testing site. That’s not in your signed document; we agreed to that after the agreement was signed. That’s a big thing. For the missiles that they were testing, the site is going to be destroyed very soon.
Today is the beginning of an arduous process. Our eyes are wide open, but peace is always worth the effort, especially in this case. This should have been done years ago. This should have been resolved a long time ago. But we’re resolving it now.
Chairman Kim has the chance to seize an incredible future for his people. Anyone can make war, but only the most courageous can make peace. The current state of affairs cannot endure forever.
The people of Korea, North and South, are profoundly talented, industrious and gifted. These are truly gifted people. They share the same heritage, language, customs, culture and destiny. But to realize their amazing destiny, to reunite their national family, the menace of nuclear weapons will now be removed.
In the meantime, the sanctions will remain in effect. We dream of a future where all Koreans can live together in harmony, where families are reunited and hopes are reborn and where the light of peace chases away the darkness of war. This bright future is within, and this is what’s happening. It is right there, it’s within our reach. It’s going to be there. It’s going to happen.
People thought this could never take place. It is now taking place. It’s a very great day. It’s a very great moment in the history of the world. And Chairman Kim is on his way back to North Korea, and I know for a fact that as soon as he arrives, he’s going to start a process that’s going to make a lot of people very happy and very safe.
So, it’s an honor to be with everybody today, the media, it’s a big gathering of media, I will say. It makes me feel very uncomfortable. But it is what it is. People understand that this is something very important to all of us, including yourselves and your families. So thank you very much for being here. We’ll take some questions.
Wow, it’s a lot of questions. Go ahead. Sure. Go ahead. NBC.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. Two questions for you, if you don’t mind. First, the man you met today, Kim Jong Un, as you know, has killed family members, has starved his own people, is responsible for the death of Otto Warmbier. Why are you so comfortable calling him very talented?
TRUMP: Well, he is very talented. Anybody that takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run it and run it tough, I don’t say it was nice or I don’t say anything about it, he ran it. Very few people at that age, you can take 1 out of 10,000, probably couldn’t do it.
Otto Warmbier is a very special person, and he will be for a long time in my life. His parents are good friends of mine. I think without Otto, this would not have happened. Something happened from that day. It was a terrible thing. It was brutal. But a lot of people started to focus on what was going on, including North Korea.
I really think that Otto is someone who did not die in vain. I told this to his parents. A special young man and I have to say, special parents, special people. Otto did not die in vain. He had a lot to do with us being here today. Okay. Thank you very much.
QUESTION: The second question for you, sir, was on the security. The second question is on the security assurances you talked about in your statement. Can you be specific about what assurances you are willing to give to Kim Jong Un? Does that include reducing military capabilities? And just to follow-up on your answer …
TRUMP: No. No, we’re not reducing anything. We’re not reducing. At some point, I have to be honest, and I used to say this during my campaign, as you know probably better than most, I want to get our soldiers out. I want to bring our soldiers back home.
We have right now 32,000 soldiers in South Korea. And I’d like to be able to bring them back home, but that’s not part of the equation right now. At some point I hope it will be, but not right now. We will be stopping the war games, which will save us a tremendous amount of money, unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should. But we’ll be saving a tremendous amount of money, plus I think it’s very provocative.
Yes, John? Yes, John, go ahead. Oh, go ahead. I’m sorry. I thought you were John Roberts. I looked at you and you look just much better, right?
QUESTION: All right. We’re frequently — we’re frequently confused, Mr. President.
QUESTION: Mr. President, the joint statement does not talk about verifiable or irreversible denuclearization.
QUESTION: Is that a concession on the part of the United States?
TRUMP: No. Not at all because if you look at it, I mean it said we are going to — let’s see here. It will be gone — I don’t think it can be any more plain than what we’re asking, issues related to the establishment of the new U.S.-DPRK relations, the building.
We talk about the guarantees. And we talk about unwavering commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. This is the document that we just signed.
QUESTION: Did you discuss with Chairman Kim methods to verify, either with the United States or international organizations, that very process and do you —
TRUMP: Yes, we did. Yes, we did. And we’ll be verifying. Yes. We’ll be verifying. It will be verified.
QUESTION: How is that going to be achieved, Mr. President?
TRUMP: Well, it’s going to be achieved by having a lot of people there. And as we develop a certain trust and we think we have done that, Secretary Pompeo has been really doing a fantastic job. His staff, everybody. As we do that, we’re going to have a lot of people there, and we’re going to be working with them on a lot of other things. But this is complete denuclearization of North Korea.
QUESTION: Will those people …
TRUMP: And it will be verified.
QUESTION: Will those people be Americans or international —
TRUMP: Combinations of both. Combinations of both. And we have talked about it.
Yes? Yes, go ahead. Be nice. Be respectful.
QUESTION: I’ll be very respectful, sir.
What did Kim Jong Un say to you to give you the confidence that for once in the history of North Korea, they are not cheating the system and gaming the world and gaming the people who will have to go in and make sure that they’re actually giving up their nuclear arsenal?
TRUMP: Yeah, I mean, very fair question. He actually mentioned the fact that they proceeded down a path in the past, and ultimately, as you know, nothing got done. In one case, they took billions of dollars during the Clinton regime.
Took billions of dollars and nothing happened. That was a terrible thing. And he actually brought it up to me. And he said, we have never gone this far. I don’t think they’ve ever had the confidence, frankly, in a president that they have right now for getting things done and having the ability to get things done.
And he was very firm in the fact that he wants to do this. I think he might want to do this as much or even more than me, because they see a very bright future for North Korea. So, you never know, right? We never know, but I’ll tell you what, we signed a very comprehensive document today. And I think most of you have been given that document. But we signed a very, very comprehensive document.
And I believe he’s going to live up to that document. In fact, when he lands, which is going to be shortly, I think that he will start that process right away.
TRUMP: I do. I do. I can only say that I know him for really well, it’s been very rhetorical, as you know. I think without the rhetoric, it wouldn’t have happened. I think without other things going along, I think the establishment of a new team was very important. We have a great team.
But I do. I think he wants to get it done. I really feel that very strongly. Oh, there is John. I think, you know, you two guys look alike when the light is right on them. The hair is very similar. Let me see who has better hair.
TRUMP: He’s got pretty good hair, John …
QUESTION: It’s the angelic glow of the backlighting, Mr. President, or something similar. Of course, the denuclearization of nuclear weapons and biological weapons and whatnot is one problem in North Korea. Another huge problem is the horrible record that they have on human rights. Was that discussed at all?
QUESTION: Is that something that you will tackle in —?
TRUMP: Yes, it was discussed. It will be discussed more in the future, human rights. What was also discussed in great detail, John, was the fact that we have — and I must have had just countless calls and letters and tweets, anything you can do. They want the remains of their sons back.
They want the remains of their fathers and mothers and all of the people that got caught into that really brutal war, which took place to a large extent in North Korea. And I asked for it today. And we got it.
That was a very last minute. The remains will be coming back. They’re going to start that process immediately. But so many people, even during the campaign, they’d say, “Is there any way you can work with North Korea to get the remains of my son back” or “my father back?”
So many people asked me this question, and I said, “Look, we don’t get along too well with that particular group of people,” but now we do. And he agreed to that so quickly and so nice. It was really a very nice thing.
And he understands it. He understands it. So, for the thousands and thousands, I guess way over 6,000 that we know of in terms of the remains, they’ll be brought back.
QUESTION: The POW/MIA, as you clearly, is a very important one for thousands …
TRUMP: Especially to a lot of people that are …
QUESTION: But what do you, President Trump, expect Kim Jong Un to do about the human rights record regarding the North Korean people?
TRUMP: Right. It was discussed. It was discussed relatively briefly compared to denuclearization. Well, obviously that’s where we started and where we ended. But they will be doing things.
And I think he wants to do things. I think he wants to — you would be very surprised. Very smart, very good negotiator. Wants to do the right thing. He brought up the fact that in the past they took dialogue for — they never were like we are. There’s never been anything like what’s taken place now. But they went down the line. Billions of dollars were given, and the following day, the nuclear program continued. But this is a much different time, and this is a much different president, in all fairness.
This is very important to me. This was one of the, perhaps one of the reasons that I want, I campaigned on this issue, as you know very well, John. Okay, whoever those people are, I cannot see with all the lights. But you don’t look like either of the two.
Yes, go ahead. Sure. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. And first of all, congratulations.
TRUMP: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
QUESTION: I’ll touch on the issue of peace treaty.
QUESTION: And also, will you travel to Pyongyang any time soon?
TRUMP: Well, at a certain time, I will. That will be a day that I look very much forward to at the appropriate time. And I also will be inviting Chairman Kim at the appropriate time to the White House.
I think it’s really going to be something that will be very important. And he has accepted. I said at the appropriate time. We want to go a little bit further down the road. But what we signed today was a lot of things included.
And then you have things that weren’t included that we got after the deal was signed. I’ve done that before in my life. And we didn’t put it in the agreement because we didn’t have time. And I think most of you have been handed out the agreement or soon will.
But I — oh, you have not? Okay. Well, if you could have those agreements passed out. We just finished them just a little while ago. But if you could have the agreements passed out, you’ll see what we’re talking about.
QUESTION: I will second congratulations, Mr. President.
QUESTION: What part did Japan play, and did the abduction issue come up?
QUESTION: Also, the fate of the Christians?
QUESTION: And the final question is when will you be doing an interview with Japanese TV? Fifty thousand American troops are in Japan (inaudible).
TRUMP: That’s true, 50,000 great troops. Yes, I did abduction, absolutely. Prime Minister Abe is one of his (inaudible) other than the whole de-nuking subject, certainly his — I would say his main point. And I brought it up, absolutely. And they’re going to be working on that. It will be — we didn’t put it down in the document. But it will be worked on.
TRUMP: Christians, yes, we are — brought it up very strongly. Franklin Graham spent and spends a tremendous amount of time in North Korea. He’s got it very close to his heart. It did come up, and things will be happening. Okay? Great. Question.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.
QUESTION: Returning to the question of human rights. You spoke very powerfully on the issue during your State of the Union address.
QUESTION: You showed that you had the defector and the first lady’s box with the crutches who escaped. And at that point said that North Korea has more brutally oppressed its people than any other regime on earth. Do you still believe that is the case having sat down with Kim Jong Un? And (inaudible) to change that.
TRUMP: Right. John, I believe it’s a rough situation over there. There’s no question about it. And we did discuss it today pretty strongly. I mean knowing what the main purpose of what we were doing is de-nuking, but discussed it in a pretty good length. We’ll be doing something on it, it’s rough, it’s rough in a lot of places by the way. Not just there, but it’s rough. And we will continue that, and I think ultimately we’ll agree to something. But it was discussed at length outside of — outside of the nuclear situation, one of the primary topics.
QUESTION: Do you think that needs to change to bring on this glorious new era you’ve talked about? Are they going to have to …
TRUMP: I think it will change, yes, I think it probably has to, but I think it will. Yes. Thank you, thank you very much. Steve, that’s you, Steve, right there.
QUESTION: Yes, sir. Thank you. What timetable do you envision for their denuclearization? And in the meantime, are you thinking about easing any sanctions?
TRUMP: Well, you know, scientifically, I’ve been watching and reading a lot of about this, and it does take a long time to, you know, pull off complete denuclearization, it takes a long time scientifically, you know, you have to wait certain periods of time, and a lot of things happen, but despite that, once you start the process, it means it’s pretty much over. You can’t use them, that’s the good news. And that’s going to start very soon, I believe that’s going to start very soon. And we will do it as fast as it can mechanically and physically be done, Steve.
QUESTION: And the sanctions?
TRUMP: The sanctions will come off when we are sure that the nukes are no longer a factor. Sanctions played a big role, but they’ll come off at that point, and I hope it’s going to be soon, but they’ll come off, they — as you know, when as I’ve said, the sanctions right now remain, but at a certain point, I actually look forward to taking them off, and they’ll come off when we know we’re down the road where it’s not going to happen. Nothing’s going to happen.
TRUMP: Yes. Go ahead, please?
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.
QUESTION: Congratulations on this historic summit.
TRUMP: Thank you very much. Congratulations to everybody, by the way. Congratulations to everybody. Go ahead.
QUESTION: You signed a document with Kim Jong Un. It’s essentially a piece of paper. Yesterday we had a briefing from the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, he said the following: Many presidents previously have signed off on pieces of paper only to find that the North Koreans either didn’t promise what we thought they had or actually reneged on those promises. What makes this time different, Mr. President?
TRUMP: Well, you have a different administration, you have a different president. You have a different secretary of state, here you have people that are, you know, it’s very important to them, and we get it done.
The other groups, maybe it wasn’t a priority, I don’t think they could have done it if it was a priority, frankly. I don’t think they honestly could have done it even if it was a priority. And it would have been easier back then, it would have been, for me, it would have been much easier if this were 10 years ago or five years ago. And I’m not just blaming President Obama, I mean, this goes back for 25 years this should have happened. I was given a very tough hand, I was given this, I was given the Iran deal, and plenty of other problems, but we are — so we’re doing really well. And the Iran deal, I have to be honest, but we — I did it because nuclear is always number one to me. Nuclear is number one.
But on the Iran deal, I think Iran is a different country now than it was three or four months ago. I don’t think they’re looking so much to the Mediterranean, I don’t think they’re looking so much at Syria like they were with total confidence. I don’t think they’re so confident right now. But I hope with that being said, I hope that at the appropriate time after these sanctions kick in, and they are brutal, what we’ve put on Iran. I hope that they’re going to come back and negotiate a real deal, because I’d love to be able to do that. But right now it’s too soon for that. Yes? Please?
QUESTION: Mr. President, you also talk about establishing diplomatic relations.
QUESTION: Changes — exchanging ambassadors, how long before that happens?
TRUMP: Good question, hopefully soon, but we’ll have to get things moving first, very — little bit early for that. We have to get things moving. Yes, go ahead? Hi.
QUESTION: Can you clarify when you said you’re stopping war games?
QUESTION: So you are stopping the military exercises with South Korea?
TRUMP: Yes, we’ve done exercises for a long period of time working South Korea. And we call them war games, that I call them war games, and they’re tremendously expensive, the amount of money that we spend on that is incredible. And South Korea contributes, but not a hundred percent, which is certainly a subject that we have to talk to them about also. And that has to do with the military expense and also the trade. So we’re doing that, we actually have a new deal with South Korea in terms of the trade deal. But we have to talk to them, and we have to talk to many countries about treating us fairly.
But the war games are very expensive, we pay for a big majority of them, we fly in bombers from Guam, I said it when I first started, I said, where do the bombers come from? Guam, nearby. I said: “Oh, great. Nearby." Where is nearby? Six and a half hours. Six and a half hours? That’s a long time for these big massive planes to be flying to South Korea to practice and then drop bombs all over the place and then go back to Guam.
I know a lot about airplanes, it’s very expensive. And I didn’t like it. And what I — what I did say is — and I think it’s very provocative, I have to tell you, Jennifer, it’s a very provocative situation. When I see that, and you have a country right next door, so under the circumstances that we are negotiating a very comprehensive, complete deal, I think it’s inappropriate to be having war games.
So number one, we save money, a lot, and number two, it really is something that I think they very much appreciated.
QUESTION: Is North Korea giving something in return, though?
TRUMP: Well, we’ve got, you know, I’ve heard that, I mean, some of the people that — I don’t know, maybe they really mean it, I don’t — I don’t always want to go against the press, because I just don’t. Especially not today, this is too important.
But I notice that some of the people are saying that the president has agreed to meet, he’s given up so much, I gave up nothing, I’m here. I haven’t slept in 25 hours, but I thought it was appropriate to do because we’ve been negotiating for, literally, around the clock with them, and with us, and with John, and with Mike, and a whole team of very talented people. But we haven’t given up anything other than, you’re right, I agreed to meet.
And I think the meeting was every bit as good for the United States as it was for North Korea, but I just wrote down some of the things we got and they, you know, they, sure, they got a meeting, but only a person that dislikes Donald Trump would say that I’ve agreed to make a big commitment. Sure, I’ve agreed to take a period of time and come here and meet, and that’s good. But I think it’s great for us, and I — as a country, and I think it’s good for them. But what did they do to justify this meeting. Secured commitment for complete denuclearization. That’s the big. They secured the release of three American hostages, they already gave them to us two months ago.
These people are now living happily back in their homes with their families. And it was pretty rough for them, to put it mildly. Secured the commitment to recover the remains, including these are of fallen heroes. And they’re giving a commitment, they’re starting it immediately to recover the remains, and I just went through how many people asked me about it, I was amazed actually, so many people would ask me, is it possible, is it possible?
At that time, we had no relationship to Chairman Kim or to anybody else in North Korea, you know, it was a very closed society. So we’re getting the remains back, secured the halt of all missile and nuclear tests for — how long has it been? Seven months? So you haven’t had a missile go up. For seven months, you haven’t had a nuclear test, you haven’t had a nuclear explosion.
I remember a nuclear event took place, 8.8 on the Richter scale, and they announced — I heard it on the radio, they announced that a massive, you know, an earthquake took place somewhere in Asia. And then they said it was in North Korea, and then they found out it was a nuclear test, I said, I never heard of a Richter scale in the high eights.
And if you look, there’s been no missile launches, they’ve blown up their missile area, that’s going to take place, that has not been written into the contract, we’re going to give you the exact details on that. But they secured a halt of all missiles and of all nuclear tests, they secured the closure of their single primary nuclear test flight — test site, all three of them, they’re in an area that’s common around each other.
They secured the closure, they secured the commitment to destroy the missile engine testing site, that was not in your agreement, I got that after we signed the agreement. I said, do me a favor, you’ve got this missile engine testing site, we know where it is because of the heat, we — it’s incredible the equipment we have, to be honest with you. I said, can you close it up? They’re going to close it up. We maintained the ability to continue to apply sanctions, so we’re applying sanctions. Now, I had 300 sanctions that I was getting ready to put on last week, and I said, you know, I can’t really put on sanctions when I’m meeting with, I thought it would be very disrespectful, 300 very big ones, powerful ones. And I said it would be disrespectful.
So, Jennifer, when you look at all of those things that we got and when we got our hostages back, I didn’t pay 1.8 billion in cash like the hostages that came back from Iran, which was a disgraceful situation, what took place. So, we’ve gotten a lot, so when I hear somebody in the media say that President Trump has agreed to meet, like it’s not a big deal to meet, I think we should meet on a lot of different topics, not just this one, and I really believe a lot of great things can happen. Yes, go ahead please?
QUESTION: Sir, you just listed off a lot of things that you say you got in this meeting. It wasn’t too long ago, though, that you said that you define success of this meeting by North Korea giving up its nuclear weapon.
TRUMP: Well, that’s what they’re doing.
QUESTION: Well, can you talk about how …
TRUMP: Sure, that’s what they’re doing. I mean, I don’t think these …
QUESTION: (inaudible) for a complete verifiable irreversible (inaudible)
TRUMP: Yes, I didn’t honestly …
QUESTION: Okay. Can you say why you didn’t …
QUESTION: … secure those details in this agreement?
TRUMP: Because there’s no time. I’m here one day, we’re together for many hours intensively, but the process is now going to take place. And I would be surprised, Mike, if they haven’t even started already, they have started, they blew up their sites, they blew up their testing site.
So, but I will say, he knew prior to coming, you know, this wasn’t like a surprise, it wasn’t like we’ve never discussed it, we discussed it, Mike discussed it very strongly with his counterpart in North Korea, they knew that this was — let’s say they didn’t agree to that, I couldn’t sign any agreement. There was no agreement that could have been signed. So, they understood that. And it wasn’t a big point today, because really this had been taken care of more than any other thing because it was all about this. This has been taken care of before we got here.
So, when we brought that up today, you see the language is very strong. It’s in the document. Yes, ma’am?
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. Could you talk about the military consequences for North Korea if they don’t follow up through along the commitment that you’re talking about?
TRUMP: Well, I don’t want to talk — yeah, I know, that’s a tough thing to talk about because I don’t want to be threatening, I don’t want to be threatening, they understood that. And you’ve seen what was perhaps going to happen, and, you know, Seoul has 28 million people, we think we have big cities, you look at New York where it has eight million people, we think it’s a big city. Seoul has 28 million people, think of that, and it’s right next to the border. It’s right next to the DMZ.
It’s right there, I mean, if this would have happened, I think, you know, I’ve heard, “Oh, a hundred thousand people,” I think you could have lost 20 million people, 30 million people. This is really an honor for me to be doing this, because I think, you know, potentially, you could have lost, you know, 30, 40, 50 million people, the city of Seoul, one of the biggest cities in the world is right next to the border.
QUESTION: Well, let’s talk about fire and fury, is that no longer the case?
TRUMP: Well, at that time we needed perhaps fire and fury, because we could not have allowed that kind of capability from the standpoint of the United States, and certainly Japan wasn’t going to allow it either, Japan is right next door.
QUESTION: Mr. President, could you tell us about the video that you showed before this?
QUESTION: I mean, did you show that to Kim, what was the focus there?
TRUMP: Today. Yeah. We had it made up by some — I hope you liked it, I thought it was good, I thought it was interesting enough to show, one in English and one in Korean. And we had it made up — I showed it to him today, actually during the meeting towards the end of the meeting, and I think he loved it, he — and they were given — we didn’t have the big screen like you have the luxury of having, we didn’t need it, because we had it on a cassette and an iPad. And they played it, and about eight of their representatives who were watching it, and I thought they were fascinated by that, I thought it was well done, I showed it to you because that’s the future, I mean, that could very well be the future.
And the other alternative, it’s just not a very good alternative, it’s just not good. But I showed up because I really want him to do something. Now, I don’t think I had to show it, because I really believe he wants to — I think he wants to get it done.
Yes? Go ahead? How is Staten Island Ferry doing? okay. He wrote the best story about me with the Staten Island Ferry and after that he’s never written a good story, I don’t know what — I don’t know what happened. It’s a long time ago.
QUESTION: Mr. President, it’s been a busy week for you on the international stage. You’re leaving this summit here in Singapore having determined that Kim Jong Un is a talented man. You left the G-7 summit a few days ago in Canada having determined that Prime Minister Trudeau is weak and dishonest. What do you say America’s allies who worry that you might be jeopardizing our long-term alliances and who worry that you might be treating our historic friends as enemies and our historic enemies as friends?
TRUMP: Well, first of all, I think it’s a very fair question. I had a very good meeting with the G-7 and I left the meeting and I’ll be honest, we are being taken advantage of by virtually every one of those countries, very, very seriously.
Now, the United States because of bad management at the top, because the presidents that didn’t care about trade or didn’t understand it or whatever reason, for many years with China being obviously the most successful at it, but the European Union is second, 151 billion we lost, they were represented at the meeting. And we’re being taken advantage of on trade.
Canada does have very big advantages over us in terms of trade deficits. We have a big trade deficit with Canada. I was reading where “It’s actually of surplus”. It’s not a surplus. It’s either 17 but it could actually be 100. They put out a document, I don’t know if you saw it, that they want me to see it, but we found it, perhaps they were trying to show the power they have. It’s close to $100 billion a year loss with Canada. They don’t take our farm products many of them. They charge what was 270 percent, but somebody told me the other day that a few months ago, they raised it to 295 percent for dairy products and it’s very unfair to our farmers and it’s very unfair to the people of our country, the workers, the farmers, the companies and we are not able to trade.
They have tremendous barriers up. They have tremendous tariffs. So, when I put in a countervailing tariff just to get us up a little bit so the balance isn’t so much, it’s like this, they said, “That’s so terrible.” I said, “What’s terrible? We have to catch you a little bit. We have to have a little balance. Even if it’s not complete, we have to have a little balance. I say this with many countries.
Anyway, we finished the meeting, really everybody was happy and I agree to sign something. I asked for changes. I demanded changes and those changes were made. In fact the picture with Angela Merkel who I get along with very well where I’m sitting there like this, that picture was we’re waiting for the document because I wanted to see the final document as changed by the changes that I requested. That’s very friendly. I know it didn’t look friendly and I know it’s reported like sort of nasty both ways, I was angry at her, she — actually, we were just talking, the whole group, about something unrelated to everything, very friendly, waiting for the document to come back, so I could read it before I leave.
Anyway, I left and it was very friendly. When I got onto the plane, I think that Justin probably didn’t know that Air Force One has about 20 televisions and I see the television that he’s giving a news conference about how he will not be pushed around by the United States. And I say, push him around, we just shook hands. It was very friendly.
Look. Countries cannot continue to take advantage of us on trade. The numbers are out. Over the last couple of years and over the last many years, but over the last couple of years, this country has lost $800 billion on trade with other countries, the biggest one being China — $800 billion, $151 billion with the European Union. They don’t take our agricultural products, barely. They don’t take a lot of what we have and yet they send Mercedes into us. They send BMWs into us by the millions. It’s very unfair and it’s very unfair to our workers and I’m going to straighten it out and it won’t even be tough, okay?
Thank you. Go ahead. Go ahead.
TRUMP: I would like to involve Congress. Yes. And, no, I have a good relationship with Justin Trudeau, I really did, other than he had a news conference that he had because he assumed I was an airplane and I wasn’t watching. He learned. That’s going to cost a lot of money for the people of Canada. He learned. You can’t do that. You can’t do that.
We left, we had a very good relationship. I’ve had a good relationship with Justin. I have a good relationship with Angela Merkel, but on NATO, we’re paying 4.2 percent. She’s paying 1 percent of a much smaller GDP than we have. We’re paying 4.2 percent on a much larger, we’re paying for. I mean, anyone can say from 60 percent to 90 percent of NATO and we’re protecting countries of Europe and then, on top of it, they kill us on trade.
So, we just can’t have it that way. It’s unfair to our taxpayers and to our people. But, no, I have a good relationship with Justin, and I have I think a very good relationship with Chairman Kim right now. I really do. I think, I hope it’s good, because if it is, we’re going to solve a very big problem. I think we’ve gone a long way to solving it today.
Should we keep going for a little while? I don’t know. It’s up to the legendary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Should we keep going, Sarah? Okay. We’ll go. Well, I don’t care. Hey, just means we get home a little later in the evening, right?
Yes. Go ahead. Sure, go ahead. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Hi, Mr. President.
QUESTION: Straits Times of Singapore. Welcome to the country.
TRUMP: Thank you very much.
QUESTION: I hope you’re enjoying our food.
TRUMP: It’s a beautiful country. I did.
QUESTION: What is the immediate next step? Are there some ongoing dialogues?
TRUMP: Yes. So, we’re getting together next week to go into the details, Secretary Pompeo, yes, next week with John Bolton and/or the entire team to go over the details and to get this stuff done. We want to get it done, he wants to get it done.
We’re also working very much with South Korea. We’re working with Japan. We’re working with China to a lesser extent, but we’re working with China.
QUESTION: And you are coming back to Singapore?
TRUMP: I would come back gladly. Your prime minister was fantastic. We’re with them yesterday. He’s done a great job. It was very welcoming, and really it probably made a difference actually. It’s a great place. Thank you very much.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. What was it about that first interaction with Chairman Kim this morning that made you decide not to walk away after you said that you would know within the first minute …
TRUMP: Yes. I’ve said that about relationships. I’ve said that about people. In the first second — I was generous. I said five seconds, but in the first second in some cases, sometimes, that doesn’t work out. But sometimes it does.
From the beginning, we got along. But there’s been a lot of ground work. This wasn’t like we went and we started talking about, as you know, right? We didn’t just come in and start talking about these very complex subjects that have been going on for 70 years. We’ve been discussing this for months. And once the rhetoric stopped, once they did a great thing — North Korea did a great thing by going to the Olympics because the Olympics and President Moon will tell you this, the Olympics was not exactly doing great. People didn’t feel like being bombed out of the opening ceremonies. They weren’t exactly selling tickets. And as soon as the chairman, Chairman Kim, said, “Let’s participate in the Olympics,” it sold like wildfire and was a great success as an Olympics. It was a great success. He did a great thing.
But since that time, pretty much since that time, because as you know a delegation came from South Korea who just met with North Korea, they came to the White House. They told me lots of things, including the fact that they’d be willing to de-nuke, we have one of their great people here today, that they were willing to de-nuke.
And once that started, we have been really talking about that from the end of the Olympics, when the whole delegation came to say various things including de-nuking.
QUESTION: If I may, a second question, in the document that you signed earlier today, North Korea agreed to commit to denuclearization. To borrow a phrase that you have used to criticize your predecessors and political opponents, how do you ensure that North Korea is not all talk, no action?
TRUMP: Well, I think can you ensure anything? Can I ensure that you’re going to be able to sit down properly when you sit down? I mean, you can’t ensure anything. All I can say is they want to make a deal. That’s what I do. My whole life has been deals. I’ve done great at it. That’s what I do.
And I know when somebody wants to deal and I know when somebody doesn’t. A lot of politicians don’t. That’s not their thing, but it is my thing. I mean, again, this really could have been done I think easier a long time ago. But I know for — I just feel very strongly, my instinct, my ability or talent, they want to make a deal, and making a deal is a great thing for the world. It’s also a great thing for China because I can’t imagine that China is happy with somebody having nuclear weapons so close. So, China was very helpful.
So, I think he wants to make a deal. Can anybody be certain? But we’re going to be certain soon because the negotiations continue. Okay. Thank you very much.
QUESTION: You mentioned that you have raised the sensitive issue of human rights with Chairman Kim.
QUESTION: I wonder what you would say to the group of people who have no ability whatsoever to hear or to see this press conference, the 100,000 North Koreans kept in a network of gulags. Have you betrayed them by legitimizing the regime in Pyongyang?
TRUMP: No, I think I’ve helped them because I think things will change. I think I’ve helped them. There’s nothing I can say. All I can do is do what I can do. We have to stop the nuclearization. We have to do other things, and that’s a very important thing. So at a certain point, hopefully you’ll be able to ask me a much more positive question or make a statement, but not much I can do right now. At a certain point, I really believe he’s going to do things about it.
I think they — I think they are one of the great winners today. That large group of people that you’re talking about. I think ultimately they are going to be one of the great winners as a group. Yes, sir, go ahead. Go ahead. Yes.
QUESTION: Would you ever consider removing the sanctions without significant improvement in the human rights situation?
TRUMP: No, I want significant improvement. I want to know that it won’t be happening. And, again, once you start that process, there’ll be a point at which even though you won’t be finished for a while because it can happen scientifically or mechanically but you’re not going to be able to go back. You know, once we reach that point, I’ll start to give that very serious thought. Yes, go ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead. You first.
QUESTION: Mr. President, did you also discuss the cost of denuclearization, and how is North Korea able to foot the bill while crippling sanctions remain in place (inaudible)?
TRUMP: Well, I think that South Korea and I think that Japan will help them very greatly. I think they are prepared to help them. They know they’re going to have to help them. I think they’re going to help them very greatly. We won’t have to help them. The United States has been paying a big price at a lot of different places, but South Korea, which obviously is right next door, and Japan, which essentially is next door, they’re going to be helping them. And I think they’re going to be doing a very generous job and a terrific job. So they will be helping them.
Yes, ma’am, go ahead. Behind, yes.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.
QUESTION: First of all, (inaudible) you said a long time, what does that mean?
TRUMP: Well, I don’t know, when you say a long time, I think we will do it as fast as it can be done scientifically, as fast as it can be done mechanically. I don’t think — I mean I’ve read horror stories. It’s a 15-year process, okay. Assuming you wanted to do it quickly, I don’t believe that. I think whoever wrote that is wrong. But there will be a point at which, when you’re 20 percent through, you can’t go back.
TRUMP: I had an uncle who was a great professor for, I believe, 40 years at MIT, and I used to discuss nuclear with him all the time. He was a great expert. He was a great, brilliant, genius. Dr. John Trump at MIT. I think he was there 40 years, I was told. In fact, the head of MIT sent me a book on my uncle.
And but we used to talk about nuclear. You are talking about a very complex subject. It’s not just like, “Oh, gee, let’s get rid of the nukes.” It takes a — it takes a period of time. But the main period of time that I’m talking is that first period when you — when you hit a certain point, you can’t go back. It’s very hard to go back.
QUESTION: And how long will that take?
TRUMP: We don’t know, but it’ll go pretty quickly. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Thanks, Mr. President. I wanted to ask again on the sanctions campaign. You alluded at the very beginning that the Chinese are not doing as great a job securing the border as they were before. You expressed, you know, some doubts when Kim went to see President Xi.
The Russian foreign minister was in Pyongyang and said there shouldn’t be any sanctions while these negotiations are underway. And the South Koreans are now talking about restoring some form of trade. So with all of those players appearing to be moving toward eroding sanctions, how can you keep the sanctions regime in place? What leverage do you have on these countries?
TRUMP: Well, I think we have a lot of leverage. I think we have tremendous leverage. I do believe that China, despite my relationship with President Xi, a man who I told you I have great respect for and like also a lot, you know, we’re having very tough talks on trade.
And I think that probably affects China somewhat, but I have to do what I have to do. And I think over the last two months, the border is more open than it was when we first started, but that is what it is, we have to do it. We had a — we have a tremendous, tremendous deficit in trade, commonly known as a trade deficit.
We have a tremendous deficit in trade with China. We have to do something about it. We can’t continue to let that happen. And I think that has had an impact on my relationship in terms of the border. I don’t think it has a relationship — you know, I don’t think it affects my feeling or my relationship to President Xi, but when we first started, we weren’t ready to go that route.
And as we started preparing and getting ready to do that, I think that’s had an impact on frankly the border, which is a shame, but I have to do it. I have no choice. For our country, I have to do it. South Korea will do whatever is necessary to get a deal done, and if that means we can’t trade with them, I’m not going to trade. They’re definitely not going to trade.
If they think and they would do this with our concurrence, if they think that they can do some work because we’re very far down in the line, we’re actually very far. You know, that document when you read it today, that’s far down the line. That’s not something that just happened to be put together. This was done over months. And, again, the rhetoric was important and the sanctions were important. I don’t even know which one was more important. They were both important.
QUESTION: (inaudible) I was wondering if you could give us some sense of whether the — Chairman Kim told you how many nuclear weapons he believes he’s made, whether he’s willing to turn those over first and then whether in your mind, you need to do more than was done in the Iran deal for actually dismantling the — both the uranium and the plutonium processes. And whether or not you had a sense that Chairman Kim really understood what that involves and had a timetable in his own mind of shutting that.
TRUMP: Well, David, I can tell you, he understands. He understands it so well. He understands it better than the people that are doing the work for him. That is an easy one. As far as what he has, it’s substantial. Very substantial. The timing will go quickly. I believe you’ll see some good action. I mean as an example one of the things with the missile site, I think you’re probably surprised to hear that, that was the throw-in at the end, the missile site.
But I really believe, David, that it’s going to go very quickly. I really believe that it’s going too fast, and it is a very substantial arsenal, there’s no question about it. You know, I used to say maybe it’s all talk and no action. But we have pretty good intelligence into that, although probably less there than any other country, you understand that maybe better than anybody in the room.
Probably less there than any other country, but we have enough intelligence to know that what they have is very substantial. This is why, David, I always say this shouldn’t have taken place so late into the process. Wouldn’t this have been better but was five years ago or 20 years ago or 15 years ago, and we didn’t have to worry about not having a successful meeting like today. So, and I still love my first interview with you, David. I still have that interview actually. Yes, go ahead.
QUESTION: If there is a second summit with Chairman Kim Jong Un, will it be in Pyongyang or (inaudible)?
TRUMP: We haven’t set that up. We’ll probably need another summit. We’ll probably need, or meeting. We could use a different term, but we’ll probably need another one. We’ll probably — I will say this, we’re much further along than I would’ve thought. I did not think we’d be — I thought — and I’ve told people, I didn’t want to build up people’s hopes too much.
I told people I thought that this would be a successful meeting if we got along, we developed a relationship, and we could’ve maybe gotten to this point in three or four months from now. But it really happened very quickly. A lot of that was because of the foundation that was, you know, put down before we met.
A lot of things happened very fast. We didn’t have as an example — bringing back the remains, that was not one of the things that was on our agenda today. I brought it up at the very end because so many people have talked to me about it, and I brought it up at the very end and he was really very gracious, instead of saying, “Well, let’s talk about it the next time,” he said it makes sense, we will do it.
And he knew, you know, they know where many of those incredible people are, where they’re buried, along roads, along highways, along paths, usually because our soldiers were moving back-and-forth and they had to move rapidly. It’s very sad. But he knew and that was brought at the very end and, you know, it was really great that he was able to do it. A lot of people are going to be very happy about that.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.
QUESTION: (inaudible) Robinson with American News. Congratulations.
TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you for the nice way you treat us. We appreciate it. Really, it’s very good. It’s really beautiful what you do. Go ahead.
TRUMP: And now I’ll probably get this killer question.
QUESTION: Well, I do want to talk about the future of North Korea, specifically the people. Are — Kim Jong Un is saying he’s wanting a brighter future with prosperity for his people, yet we know they live under oppression. You showed him this video of what the future can be like, but do you have an idea specifically of the model that he would like to go towards? Economically, is he open to more economic freedom?
TRUMP: Yes. It’s a good question. So, you saw a tape today and I think it was done really well, but that was done at the highest level of future development. I told him, “You may not want this, you may want to do a much smaller version of this, I mean, you're going to do something, but you may want to do a smaller version. You may not want that with the trains. … And maybe you won’t want that.”
It’s going to be up to them. It’s going to be up to them. It’s going to be up to the people what they want. They may not want that. I can understand that, too. But that was a version of what could happen and what could take place.
As an example, they have great beaches. You see that whenever they’re exploding their cannons into the ocean, right? I said, “Boy, look at that place, wouldn’t that make a great condo?” And I explained it, I said, “Instead of doing that, you could have the best hotels in the world right there.”
Think of it from a real estate perspective. You have South Korea. You have China, and they own the land in the middle. How bad is that, right? It’s great. But I told him, I said, “You may not want to do what’s there. You may want to do a smaller version of it, and that could be.”
Although, I tell you what, he looked at that tape. He looked at that iPad, and I’m telling you, they really enjoyed it, I believe, okay?
Yes, go ahead. A couple more. Okay. We’ll do three more. Yes. Go ahead. Go.
QUESTION: This is Brian Bennett from Time Magazine.
TRUMP: Yes. Hi, Brian. Am I on the cover again this week? Boy, have I — so many times …
QUESTION: Entirely possible.
TRUMP: I know. That’s okay.
QUESTION: Do you now see Kim Jong Un as an equal?
QUESTION: You just showed a video that showed you and Kim Jong Un on equal footing and discussing the future.
TRUMP: No. I think that I don’t view it that way. See, I don’t view it that way. I’ll do whatever it takes to make the world a safer place. If I have to say I’m sitting on a stage, I mean, I understand what you’re getting at, if I have to say I’m sitting on a stage with Chairman Kim and that’s going to get us to save 30 million lives, could be more than that, I’m willing to sit on the stage. I’m willing to travel to Singapore very proudly, very gladly.
Again, other than the fact that it is taking my time, they have given up a tremendous amount. They’ve given it up even before, and even add the Olympics to it. You could add the Olympics to the question.
They went to the Olympics. They took an Olympics that was going to be a massive failure that maybe wouldn’t have even opened and they made it a tremendous success by agreeing to participate. Add that to the list of things that they’ve done.
So, Brian, if I can save millions of lives by coming here, sitting down and establishing a relationship with someone who’s a very powerful man, who’s got firm control of a country and that country has very powerful nuclear weapons, it’s my honor to do it.
QUESTION: Are you concerned that the video that you showed could be used by Kim as propaganda to show him as …
TRUMP: No, I’m not concerned at all. We could use that video for other countries.
QUESTION: Mr. President, in the year 2000, President Clinton got a request by Kim Jong Il.
QUESTION: Got a request …
QUESTION: … from Kim Jong Il to travel to Pyongyang and meet him, and Clinton refused. He sent Secretary of State Albright.
TRUMP: Yes. He did a great deal and he spent $3 billion and got nothing. They started making nuclear weapons.
QUESTION: You on the other hand got the request and right away went here to meet him, and do you understand those people who say you gave him the ultimate present, a legitimacy to a regime who oppresses people and without ongoing process before you as the U.S. president, as the leader of the free world, meet, shake hands with this leader of North Korea who is perceived to be oppressing brutally his own people.
TRUMP: Okay. Good, I think we just answered the question.
QUESTION: But do you understand …
TRUMP: Oh, I understand it much better than you do. Okay. Yes. Go ahead. Go ahead. Thank you very much. Yes?
QUESTION: Mr. President, Eliana Johnson from Politico.
QUESTION: Hi. You mentioned a couple of specific concessions that you got from Kim, the return of remains and the destruction of the nuclear site, and I think you said that …
TRUMP: And much more, much more.
QUESTION: Yes. Yes. I know you said the last thing was an add-on and it wasn’t in the agreement, that he gave you his word. If he doesn’t follow through on these things, what are you prepared to do in response? And will you lose faith in this process?
TRUMP: No. I think he’ll do it. I really believe that, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing this. I really believe. And it was really the engine-testing site in addition to all of the other things that they have agreed to do.
It was the — they have a very powerful engine-testing site that again, we’re able to see because of the heat that they — that it emits. And, yes, I’m able to — I’m very happy — I’ll tell you what, I’m very happy with those two points. The two points you mentioned, but I think you might be referring to the thing that’s not in, which is the engine-testing site.
I think, honestly, I think he’s going to do these things. I may be wrong. I mean, I may stand before you in six months and say, “Hey, I was wrong.” I don’t know that I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of an excuse.
Okay. One or two, one more. Come on.
TRUMP: Yes, go ahead. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.
TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you.
QUESTION: (inaudible) Media Group China. I just would like to know will you call Chinese President Xi when you come back to D.C. to discuss about achievements you made today with Chairman Kim?
QUESTION: And what’s your expectation about China’s role to accelerate the process to establish a long-term peace mechanism?
TRUMP: Well, my expectation about China is that China is a great country with a great leader and a friend of mine. And I really believe that he’s happy that we’ve made this kind of progress. That’s what I’ve heard from him.
But I will be calling him very shortly, maybe even before I land, okay? And I have to say, and the United States is a great country. And we have set records economically, over $7 trillion in net worth addition to what we have.
And we are almost twice the size, the economy of the United States. Nobody talks about this because you do hear a lot about China, rightfully so. But the United States now is almost twice the size of the economy of China. We have a great country, and we’re on a correct path.
Okay, one more. That will be it.
TRUMP: Oh, South Korea — where is South Korea? I think you deserve — go ahead. Go. You deserve one. Yes. You deserve one.
QUESTION: I’ve got two questions for you, Mr. President. First, you mentioned earlier that you’re going to talk with South Korean President Moon Jae-in over the phone.
QUESTION: What do you plan to discuss with him?
TRUMP: I just wanted to tell him about the meeting, very successful. And he’ll be very much involved in the final negotiation. He’s a very, very fine gentleman. Also a friend of mine, and I look forward to speaking with him.
He’ll be very happy when he hears about — I’ve already sent word to him about what happened. I sent the document to him actually and all of the details behind the document. So I’ll be talking to him very shortly.
QUESTION: If I may ask another question. In signing the peace treaty, do you hope to — do you plan to work this out with North Korea’s Chairman Kim only or what do you think about the involvement of South Korea and China as the signatories?
TRUMP: I’d like to have them involved also. There’s a question as to whether or not we’re supposed to or whether or not we legally have to. I don’t care. I think it would be great to have China involved and also, of course, South Korea, okay?
TRUMP: Mike, do they have a transcript? They probably have a rough transcript which you can give if you have one.
TRUMP: No. They didn’t record it. I don’t think they recorded it. Are there any recordings of it? I wish there were because it is interesting stuff, say it?
QUESTION: … Mr. President.
TRUMP: I don’t. We probably have some notes or something, but they have actually detailed notes I would imagine. But we had a great conversation. It was a very heartfelt conversation.
TRUMP: We don’t have to verify because I have one of the great memories of all time, so I don’t have to. okay?
TRUMP: Yes. But I don’t want to discuss it. But what we did is we’ve had numerous discussions. We’ve had very important relationships established at Mike’s level and other levels.
In fact, a couple of people are here from, as you know from North Korea. They’re in the room. We have a few people in the back also from the room. So when we went into this final agreement, very importantly, we really didn’t go in cold.
We went in with tremendous relationship and tremendous knowledge. And I think that’s why we got it done. So I’m going to head back. I don’t know about you, folks. But it’s been a long time since I’ve taken it easy, so now we can take it a little bit easy, and then the work begins again.
And I appreciate everybody being here. I hope we’ve answered your questions. And thank you very much and sort of congratulations to everybody because this is really, to me, it’s a very important event in world history and to be really true to myself, I have to add, I want to get it completed.
So, Mike, our whole team has to get to work and get it completed because otherwise, we’ve done a good job, but if you don’t get the ball over the goal line, it doesn’t mean enough, okay?
So, thank you and sort of congratulations to everybody in the room. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Thank you.