“We’ll remain flexible here. I’ve gotten it to this point,” the president said.
Trump made the comments in a joint press conference with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., at the end of a two-day summit between the leaders.
Asked whether the release of three Americans held prisoner by North Korea is a necessary concession ahead of any summit with Kim, Trump did not reply directly but said his administration is currently working to get the Americans freed.
“We’re fighting very diligently to get the three American citizens back,” Trump said. “There’s a chance of having good dialogue. We’ll keep you informed. We are in there and we’re working very hard on that. We have come a long way with North Korea.”
Trump declared that on North Korea, he will not repeat the mistakes of previous administrations and will “continue a campaign of maximum pressure until North Korea denuclearizes.”
“Hopefully that meeting will be a great success and we’re looking forward to it. It will be a tremendous thing for North Korea and a tremendous thing for the world. We will be doing everything possible to make it a worldwide success,” Trump said.
Conversations between Trump and Abe have focused on trade and working towards denuclearizing North Korea. On Wednesday morning, Trump confirmed in a tweet that his nominee for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, took a secret trip to North Korea over Easter weekend to meet with Kim and begin laying the groundwork for the upcoming summit.
“I think Mike Pompeo will go down as one of the great secretaries of state. And, by the way, he just left North Korea. Had a great meeting with Kim Jong Un, and got along with him really well, really great,” Trump said to reporters during a working lunch with Abe and advisers.
AFP/Getty ImagesThis picture taken on April 9, 2018 and released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 10 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang.
Trump began the Wednesday evening press conference by offering his condolences to the Bush family. First Lady Barbara Bush died Tuesday at her home in Houston, Texas.
“Melania and I send our prayers to Barbara’s husband of 73 years – I’ll never beat that record,” Trump said.
Trump and Abe –both golf enthusiasts–played a round at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach Wednesday afternoon.
“Prime Minister @AbeShinzo of Japan and myself this morning building an even deeper and better relationship while playing a quick round of golf at Trump International Golf Club,” tweeted Trump.