US President Donald Trump today said he would consider inviting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to the White House if their Singapore summit on Tuesday goes well but made it clear that he is ready to "walk away" from the meeting if his goals were not achieved.
The US and its regional allies want to see North Korea give up its nuclear weapons. Trump and Kim will meet on Sentosa, a smaller island off the coast of Singapore's main island. The June 12 summit would represent the first ever meeting between a North Korean leader and a sitting US president.
Trump made the remarks after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House to discuss the June 12 summit. Abe's visit is part of a flurry of diplomatic activity in the run-up to the summit, as countries try to ensure their interests are not overlooked.
"Maybe we'll start with the White House," he told reporters after he was asked whether he would invite the North Korean leader to the White House or his Mar-a-lago resort in Florida. He said it was possible an agreement to end the Korean War could be reached, though he called that "the easy part" of the negotiations.
"It's what happens after that that is really important," he told reporters. He, however, made it clear that he was ready to "walk away" from the meeting if his goals were not achieved. "I am totally prepared to walk. It could happen. Maybe it won't be necessary. I hope it won't be necessary to walk, because I really believe that Kim Jong-un wants to do something that is going to be great for his people, and also great for his family, and great for himself," Trump said.
"I am totally prepared to walk away. I did it once before. You have to be able to walk away. "If you're not going to be able to walk away -- we didn't walk away from the horrible Iran deal that was signed, and if you look at what's happened, since I signed that deal, Iran and in all fairness, I say it with great respect for the people of Iran, but Iran is acting a lot differently. They're no longer looking so much to the Mediterranean," he said.
Iran, he said, is no longer looking so much to what was going on in Syria, Yemen and other places. "They're a much different country over the last three months. And again, I say that with hope that maybe something can happen," said the US President.
About Kim's personal letter delivered to Trump by the North Korean leader's top aide last week, the President said, "The letter was just a greeting. It was really very nice. Perhaps I can get approval to put it out. It was really a very warm letter, a very nice letter".
"I appreciated it very much, and nothing other than. 'We look forward to seeing you, and we look forward to the summit, and hopefully, some wonderful things will work out'. So it was really very warm, very nice. We appreciated it," Trump said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking later at the White House, said Kim had indicated to him personally that he was willing to denuclearise - although it is not clear if that means North Korea is coming closer to the US vision of what that entails.
Earlier, Trump said he did not think preparation was essential for his meeting with the North Korean leader. "I think I'm very well prepared. I don't think I have to prepare very much. It's about attitude, it's about willingness to get things done," he said.