Sat, Jun 09, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Summit all ‘attitude,’ not prep: Trump

‘FRIENDLY NEGOTIATION’:The US president said that the future use of the phrase ‘maximum pressure’ would be an indicator to whether the talks with Kim succeeded

AP, WASHINGTON

Heading into his North Korea summit with characteristic bravado, US President Donald Trump on Thursday said that “attitude” is more important than preparation as he looks to negotiate an accord with North Korean leader 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 US, 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 would not 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.

North Korea has faced crippling diplomatic and economic sanctions due to 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,” Trump predicted “a terrific success or a modified success” when he meets with Kim on Tuesday in Singapore.

The talks would start a process to bring about a resolution to the nuclear issue, he said.

“I think it’s not a one-meeting deal,” Trump said.

Asked how many days he would be willing to stay to talk with Kim, he said: “One, two, three, depending on what happens.”

Still, he predicted that he would know very quickly whether Kim is serious about dealing with US demands.

Trump, who coined the term “maximum pressure” to describe US sanctions against the North, said they would be an indicator for the success or failure of the talks.

“We don’t use the term anymore, because we’re going into a friendly negotiation,” Trump said.

“Perhaps after that negotiation, I will be using it again. You’ll know how well we do in the negotiation. If you hear me saying: ‘We’re going to use maximum pressure,’ you’ll know the negotiation did not do well, frankly,” he added.

At another point, he said it was “absolutely” possible he and Kim could sign a declaration to end the Korean War.

The 1950-1953 conflict ended with an armistice, but not a formal peace treaty.

Trump spent Thursday morning firing off a dozen unrelated tweets — on the Russia investigation and other subjects — before meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to talk about summit preparations and strategy.

“I think I’ve been prepared for this summit for a long time, as has the other side,” Trump said. “I think 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.”

Administration officials indicated that Trump actually was putting in preparation time.

US National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said the president met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US National Security Adviser John Bolton on Thursday afternoon “to continue their strategic discussions” ahead of the summit.

Pompeo said he was confident the president would be fully prepared and dismissed reports of division inside Trump’s foreign policy team over the decision to embrace the meeting with Kim.

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