Heading into his North Korea summit with characteristic bravado, President Donald Trump said Thursday that “attitude” is more important than preparation as he looks to negotiate an accord with Kim Jong Un to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. Preparing to depart Washington for next week’s meeting, Trump dangled before Kim visions of normalized relations with the United States, economic investment and even a White House visit.
Characterizing the upcoming talks with the third-generation autocrat as a “friendly negotiation,” Trump said, “I really believe that Kim Jong Un wants to do something.”
Trump’s comments came as he looked to reassure allies that he won’t give away the store in pursuit of a legacy-defining deal with Kim, who has long sought to cast off his pariah status on the international stage. The North has faced crippling diplomatic and economic sanctions as it has advanced development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
“I don’t think I have to prepare very much,” Trump said. “It’s about attitude. It’s about willingness to get things done.” Declaring the summit to be “much more than a photo-op,” he predicted “a terrific success or a modified success” when he meets with Kim next Tuesday in Singapore.
Trump said the talks would start a process to bring about a resolution to the nuclear issue.
“I think it’s not a one-meeting deal,” he said.
Asked how many days he’s willing to stay to talk with Kim, Trump said, “One, two three, depending on what happens. If they don’t denuclearize, that will not be acceptable. And we cannot take sanctions off.” Trump, who coined the term “maximum pressure” to describe U.S. sanctions against the North, said they would be an indicator for the success or failure of the talks.
At another point, he said it was “absolutely” possible he and Kim could sign a declaration to end the Korean War. The 1950-53 conflict ended with an armistice but not a formal peace treaty.