Late Tuesday afternoon Singapore time, President Donald Trump held a lengthy press conference detailing his discussions with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their historic summit.
Below is a full rush transcript of the press conference.
Tremendous 24 hours. Tremendous three months actually. This has been going on for quite a while. That was a tape we gave to Chairman Kim and his people and representatives. It captures a lot. That is a great place. Has the potential to be an incredible place between South Korea and China. That has tremendous potential. I think he understands that. He wants to do what’s right. It’s my honor today to address the people of the world following the very historic summit with Chairman Kim Jong Un of North Korea. Spent very intensive hours together.
I think most of us have gotten the signed document or you will shortly. It is very comprehensive. It’s going to happen. I stand before you as representative of the united States to deliver a message of hope and vision and message of peace. Let me begin by thanking our incredible host in Singapore. Especially Prime Minister Lee [Hsien Loong]. We send our warm wishes of everyone of Singapore who really made this visit so important and so pleasant. Despite all of the work and long hours.
I also want to thank President Moon [Jae-in] of South Korea. He is working hard. In fact, I’ll speak to him right after we’re finish. Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe of Japan. Friend of mine. Just left our country. He wants what is right for Japan and for the world. Good man.
And a very special person. President Xi [Jinping] of China. He has really closed up that border. Maybe a little less the last couple of months. That’s okay. He really has. He is a terrific person and friend of mine. Really the 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 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 circumstances. 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 the war never ended to this day.
Now we can have hope it will soon end and it soon will. 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 become friends. We can honor the sacrifice of our forefathers by replacing the horrors of battle with the blessings of peace. That’s what we’re doing and that’s what we have done. There’s 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. It really wants to engage.
Chairman Kim has 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 which he reaffirmed his unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
We also agreed to vigorous negotiations to implement the agreement as soon as possible. He wants to do that. This is not the past. This is not another administration that never got it started. And therefore never got it done. Chairman Kim says North Korea is also 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. The missiles they were testing. The site will be destroyed very soon.
Today is the beginning of the arduous process. Our eyes are wide open. 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. We’re doing 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 not endure forever.
The people of North Korea, North and South, are truly wonderful and gifted people. They share the same heritage and language and culture and destiny. To realize their amazing destiny and 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 and 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 is happening. It is right there. It is within our reach. It’s going to be there. It will happen. People thought this could never take place. It is now taking place. It is a very great day.
It’s a very great moment in the history of the world. Chairman Kim is on his way back to North Korea and I know for a fact that as soon as he arrives he will start a process that will make a lot of people very happy and very safe. So it is an honor to be with everybody today. The media. This is a big gathering of media, I will say. Makes me feel very uncomfortable. 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 for being here.
We’ll take some questions. Wow. That’s a lot of questions. Sure. Go ahead. NBC.
>> Thank you, Mr. President. Two questions. First, the man you met today, Kim Jong Un, as you know has killed family members and starved his own people and responsible for the death of Otto Warmbier. Why are you so comfortable calling him very talented?
>> 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 he was nice or say anything about it. He ran it, few people at that age. You can take 1 out of 10,000 could not 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. 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. Special young man and special parents. Special people. Otto did not die in vain. He had a lot to do with us being here today.
>> Thank you, sir. That second question on the security assurances you talked about in your statement. Can you be specific of the assurances you are willing to give to Kim Jong Un? Does that include reducing military operations?
>> At some point I have to be honest. I used to say this during my campaign as you know better than most. I want to get our soldiers out. I want to bring our soldiers back home. We have 32,000 soldiers in South Korea. I would like to be able to bring them back home. That’s not part of the equation. At some point, I hope it would be. We will stop the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money. Unless and until we see the future negotiations is not going along like it should. We will be saving a tremendous amount of money. Plus. It is very provocative.
John. Go ahead. John. Go ahead. I thought you were John Roberts.
>> We’re frequently confused, Mr. President. Mr. President, the joint statement does not talk about verifiable or irreversible denuclearization. Is that a concession on the part of the United States?
>> No, not at all. If you look at it, it said we are — let’s see here. It will be gone. I don’t think you can be any more plain. Issues of the establishment of the DPRK relations-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.
>> Did you discuss with Chairman Kim methods to verify with the United States or international organizations that process?
>> Yes, we did. It will be verified. We will be verifying.
>> How will that be achieved?
>> It will be achieved by having a lot of people there. As we develop a certain trust. We think we have done that. Secretary Pompeo has been really doing a fantastic job. His staff and everybody. As we do that, we will have a lot of people there and working with them. This is complete denuclearization of North Korea’s — it will be verified.
>> Will they be Americans or agency people?
>> Combinations of both. We have talked about it.
Go ahead. Be nice. Be respectful.
>> 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 cheating the people of the world and making sure they are giving up their nuclear arsenal?
>> Fair question. He mentioned the fact they proceeded down the path in the past and nothing got done. In one case, they took billions of dollars during the Clinton regime.
Took billions of dollars and nothing happened. He brought it up to me. He said we have never gotten this far. I don’t think they have ever had the confidence in a president they have right now for getting things done and ability to get things done. 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 bright future for North Korea. You never know. We never know. We signed a comprehensive document today. I think most of you have been given that document. We signed a very, very comprehensive document and I believe he will live up to that document.
In fact, when he lands, which is shortly, I think he will start that process right away. I do. I do. I can only say I know I’m for — really well. As you know, without the rhetoric it would not have happened. I think without other things going along, I think the establishment of the 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.
There’s John. You two guys look alike when the light is right. The hair is similar. Let me see who has better hair. He has pretty good hair, John.
>> It is the angelic glow of the back lighting that makes us look similar. Of course, the denuclearization and nuclear weapons and biological weapons is one problem in North Korea. Another huge problem is the horrible record they have on human rights. Was that discussed at all? Is that something you will tackle in the future?
>> Yes, it was discussed. It will be discussed more in the future. Human rights. What was discussed in great detail, John, was the fact we have and I must have had — I just had countless calls and letters. Anything you can do. They want the remains of their sons back and remains of their fathers and mothers. All of the people that got caught to that brutal war which took place to a large extent in North Korea.
I asked for it today and we got it. That was a very last-minute request. The remains will be coming back. They will start that process immediately. So many people, during the campaign, would say is there any way you can work with north Korea to get the remains of my son back or father back. So many people asked me this question. I said we don’t get along too well with that particular group of people.
Now we do. And he agreed to that so quickly and nicely. It was a nice thing. He understands it. So for the thousands and thousands — I guess over 6,000 that we know of in terms of the remains will be brought back. The POW/MIA Issue is a clearly big issue to people.
>>What do you, President Trump, expect Kim Jong Un to do about the human rights record regarding the North Korean people?
>> It was discussed. It was discussed relatively briefly compared to denuclearization. Obviously that is where we started and where we ended. They will be doing things. I think he wants to do things. You would be surprised. Very smart. Very good negotiator. Wants to do the right thing. He brought up the fact that in the past they took dialogue or never were like we are which has never been like what has taken place now.
They went down the line. Billions of dollars were given and the following day the nuclear program continued. This is a much different time. This is a much different president in all fairness. This is very important to me. This is one of the, perhaps one of the reasons I won and campaigned on this issue, as you know, John.
Whoever those people are — I cannot see you with all of the lights. You don’t look like either of the two. Go ahead. Sure. Go ahead.
>> Thank you, Mr. President. First of all, congratulations.
>> Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
>> Did you touch on the issue of peace treaty and also where you traveled — also will you travel to Pyongyang soon?
>> Of course. I will at the appropriate time. I also will be inviting Chairman Kim at the appropriate time to the White House. I would think it would be something that will be very important. He has accepted. I said at the appropriate time. We want to go further down the road.
What we signed today had a lot of things included. You had things that were not included that we got after the deal was signed. I have done that before in my life. We didn’t put it in the agreement because I did not have time. Most of you have the agreement or soon will. You have not? We just finished them. If you could pass them out. If you could have the agreements passed out. You will see.
Yes, sir. Go ahead.
>> I want to second the congratulations, Mr. President.
>> Thank you.
>> What part did Japan play and the fate of the Christians and the follow-up question is when will you do an interview with Japanese TV? 50,000 troops are in Japan.
>> That’s true. 50,000 great troops. This is Prime Minister Abe’s concern. Other than the denuking subject. I would say his main point. I brought it up, absolutely. They will work on that. We did not put it down in the document. It will be worked on. Christians, yes.
We brought it up. Franklin Graham spent and spends a tremendous amount of time in North Korea. He has it close to his heart. It did come up and things will be happening. Great question. Yes, John. Go ahead.
>> Thank you, Mr. President. Returning to the question of human rights. You spoke very powerfully on the issue during the State of the Union address. You showed that you had the defector in the first lady’s box. You said 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? Does he need to change that?
>> John, I believe it is a rough situation over there. No question about it. We did discuss it today strongly. Knowing what the main purpose of what we are doing is here denuking. Discussed at good length. We will be doing something on it. It’s rough.
It’s rough in a lot of places, by the way. We will continue that and I think ultimately agree to something. It was discussed at length outside of the nuclear situation. One of the primary topics.
>> Do you think that needs to change to bring on the glorious new era?
>> I think it will change. I think it probably has to, but it will. Thank you very much. Steve. When we are sure that the nukes are no longer a factor. Sanctions played a big role. They will come off at that point. I hope it is soon. As you know and as I have said, the sanctions right now remain. At a certain point I look forward to taking them off and they will come off when we know we are down the road and it will not happen. Nothing will happen.
>> Thank you.
>> Yes. Go ahead. Please.
>> Thank you, Mr. President. Congratulations on the historic summit.
>> Thank you. Congratulations to everybody, by the way.
>> You signed a document with Kim Jong Un. It is 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 the north Koreans did not do what they said or reneged on the promises.” What makes this different?
>> You have a different administration and different president and different secretary of state. You have people that are, you know, it is very important to them. And we get it done. The other groups may be wasn’t a priority. I don’t think they could have done it if it was a priority, frankly. I don’t think they could have do it if it was a priority. It would have been easier back then. For me, it would have been easier if this were ten years ago or five years ago. I’m not just blaming President Obama.
This goes back 25 years this should have happened. I have been given a tough hand. I was given this and the Iran deal and other problems. We are doing really well. The Iran deal, I have to be honest, I did it because nuclear is always number one to me. Nuclear is number one.
On the Iran deal, I think Iran is a different country now. I don’t think they are looking as much to the Mediterranean and so much as Syria like they were with total confidence. I don’t think they are so confident right now. I hope with that being said, I hope at the appropriate time after the sanctions kick in and they are brutal on what we put on Iran. I hope they come back and negotiate a real deal. Right now it is too soon for that.
>> You also talk about establishing diplomatic relations. Exchanging ambassadors. How long before that happens?
>> Good question. Hopefully soon. We have to get things moving first.
Little bit early for that. We have to get things moving. Go ahead. Hi.
>> Can you clarify you are stopping war games? You are stopping exercises with South Korea?
>> We have done exercises working with South Korea for a long time. We call them war games. I call them war games. They are tremendously expensive. The amount of money we spend on that is incredible. South Korea contributes, but not 100 percent which is a subject that we have to talk to them about also. That has to do with the military expense and also the trade. We actually have a new deal with South Korea. We have to talk to them. We have to talk to countries about treating us fairly. We pay for a big majority of them.
We fly in bombers from Guam. I said where do the bombers come from? Guam. Nearby. I said great. Where is nearby. Six and a half hours. That’s a long time for these big massive planes to be flying to South Korea to practice and drop bombs all over the place and go back to Guam. I know a lot about airplanes. Very expensive. I didn’t like it.
What I did say is and I think it is provocative. I have to tell you, Jennifer, it is a provocative situation. When I see that and you have a country right next door. Under the circumstances we are negotiating a comprehensive and complete deal. It is inappropriate to have war games. Number one, we save money. A lot. Number two, it is really something they very much appreciated.
>> Does North Korea give you something in return?
>> I heard that. I don’t always want to go against the press. I just don’t. Especially not today. This is too important. I notice some of the people are saying the president has agreed to meet. He has 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. We have been negotiating around the clock with them and with us and with [Chief of Staff] John [Kelly] and with Mike [Pompeo] and the whole team of talented people. We haven’t given up anything other than you are right. I agreed to meet.
I think the meeting was every bit as good for the United States as it was for north Korea. I just wrote down some of the things we got. They should. They got a meeting. Only a person that dislikes Donald Trump would say that I have agreed to make a big commitment. Sure, I agreed to take a period of time and come here and meet and that’s good. I think it is great for us and as a country and good for them.
What did they do to justify this meeting? Secured commitment for complete denuclearization. That’s the big thing. They secured the release of three American hostages. They already gave them to us two months ago. These people are living happily back in their homes with their families. 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 are giving a commitment. Starting it immediately to recover the remains. I went through how many people asked me about it. I was amazed. So many people would ask if it is possible. At that time we had no relationship to chairman Kim or anybody else in North Korea. 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? You have not had a nuclear test or nuclear explosion. I remember a nuclear event that took place — 8.8 on the Richter scale.
A massive earthquake took place somewhere in Asia. Then it was in North Korea. I never heard of the Richter scale in the high 8s. If you look, there has been no missile launches. They have blown up the missile area. That has not been written in the contract. We will give you the exact details on that. They secured of all missiles and nuclear tests. They secured the closure of their single primary nuclear 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 have this missile engine testing site. We know where it is because of the heat. It is incredible the equipment we have to be honest with you. I said can you close it up. He’s going to close it up. We maintain the ability to continue sanctions. We are applying sanctions. I had 300 sanctions I was getting ready to put on last week. I cannot put on sanctions when I had a meeting coming up. 300 big and powerful ones.
Jennifer, when you look at all of the things we got and when we got our hostages back, I did not pay $1.8 billion in cash like the hostages that came back from Iran which was a disgraceful situation. We have a lot. When I hear somebody in the media say that president trump has agreed to meet like it’s not a big deal to me. I think we should meet on a lot of topics, not just this one. I believe a lot of great things can happen.
Yes, go ahead. Please.
>> Sir, you just listed off a lot of things you got in the meeting. It wasn’t too long ago that you said you defined success of the meeting by North Korea giving up the nuclear weapons. How will you have a verifiable and irreversible — can you say why you didn’t secure those details in the agreement?
>> Because there’s no time. I’m here one day. We’re together for many hours intensively. The process will take place. I would be surprised, Mike, if they have not started already. They have started. They blew up their sites. They blew up their testing site. I will say he knew prior to coming — this wasn’t like a surprise. It wasn’t like we never discussed it. We discussed it.
Mike [Pompeo] discussed it very strongly with his counterpart in North Korea. They knew this was -- let’s say they did not agree to that and I could not sign any agreement. They understood that. 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. We brought that up before today. You see the language which is very strong and it’s in the document.
>> Thank you, Mr. President. Could you talk about the military consequences for north Korea if they don’t follow through on the commitments?
>> I don’t want to talk about it. That’s a tough thing to talk about. I don’t want to be threatening. They understood that. You have seen what was perhaps going to happen. You know, Seoul has 28 million people. We think we have big cities. You look at New York with 8 million people. We think it is a big city.
Seoul has 28 million people. Think of that. It is right next to the border. It is right next to the DMZ [demilitarized zone]. It’s right there. If this would have happened — I have heard 100,000 people. I think you could have lost 20 million people or 30 million people. This is really an honor for me to do this. I think potentially you could have lost 30 million or 40 million people. The city of Seoul. It is right next to the border.
>> You once spoke about “fire and fury.” Is that no longer the case?
>> At that time we needed perhaps fire and fury. We could not allow that capability from the standpoint of the United States. And certainly Japan would not allow it either.
>> Mr. President, could you tell us about the video you showed? When did you show that to Kim?
>> What was the goal?
>> We had it made up by — 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. We had it made up. I showed it to them today. Actually during the meeting. Toward the end of the meeting. I think he loved it. They were — we didn’t have a big screen like you have the luxury. We had it on cassette. An iPad. They played it. About eight of their representatives were watching it. I thought they were fascinated by it. I thought it was well done. I showed it to you because that is the future. That could very well be the future. The other alternative is not a good alternative. It is just not good. I showed it because I really want him to do something. I don’t think I had to show it. I really believe he wants to get it done. Yes.
Go ahead. How is Staten Island ferry doing? He wrote the best story of me and the Staten Island ferry and after that he has never written a good story. I don’t know what happened. It’s a long time ago.
>> Mr. President, it has been a busy week for out the international stage. You are leaving the summit in Singapore having determined that Kim Jong Un is a talented man. You left the g7 summit a few days ago and determined that Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau [of Canada] is weak and dishonest. What do you say to America’s allies that worry you are jeopardizing our long-time alliances and worry you are treating our historic friends and enemies and our historic enemies as friends?
>> That is a very fair question. I had a very good meeting with the G7. I left the meeting. I’ll be honest. We are being taken advantage of by virtually every one of the countries. Now the United States because of bad management at the top and presidents that did not care about trade or did not understand it or whatever reason, for many years with China being obviously the most successful at it and the European Union is second. $151 billion we lost. They were represented at the meeting. We are 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. It is a surplus. It is not a surplus. It is either 17 or it could be 100. I don’t know if you saw it. We found it. Perhaps they were trying to show $151 billion we lost. They were represented at the meeting.
We are 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. It is a surplus. It is not a surplus. It is either 17 or it could be 100. I don’t know if you saw it. We found it. Perhaps they were trying to show the power they have. It is 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 a few months ago they raised it to 295 percent for dairy products. It is very unfair to our farmers and unfair to the people of our country.
Workers, farmers, companies. We are not able to trade. They have tremendous barriers up and tariffs. When I put in a countervailing tariff so the balance is not so much. It’s like this. They said that is terrible. I said what is terrible? We have to have balance. Even if it is not complete. We have to have a little balance. I say this with many countries. We finished the meeting and everybody was happy. I agreed to sign something. I asked for changes. I demanded changes.
In fact, the picture with Angela Merkel whom I get along very well where I am sitting here like this. I’m wait for the document because I wanted to see the final document with the changes I requested. That was a friendly meeting. I know it did not look friendly. I know it was reported nasty. I was angry — actually we were talking the whole group about something unrelated to everything.
Very friendly. Waiting for the document to come back. I got on the plane and I think Justin did not know that air force one has about 20 televisions. I see the television. He is 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. 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, over the last couple of years especially, this country has lost $800 billion on trade with other countries. The biggest one China. $800 billion. $151 billion with the eu. They don’t take our agriculture products. Barely. They don’t take a lot of what we have and they send Mercedes-Benz to us and BMWs to us by the millions. Very unfair. Very unfair to our workers.
I’ll straighten it out. It won’t even be tough. Thank you.
>> Go ahead. Go ahead.
>> [unintelligible question from reporter]
>> I would like to involve congress, yes. I have a good relationship with Justin Trudeau. Other than he had a news conference because he assumed I was in an airplane and he thought I wasn’t watching. He learned. You can’t do that. We laughed. We had a good relationship. I had a good relationship with Justin. I have a very good relationship with Angela Merkel. On nato, we’re paying 4.2 percent and she is paying 1 percent of the smaller GDP than we have.
We are paying 4.2 percent. We are paying from 60 percent of 90 percent of NATO. We are protecting countries of Europe. On top of it, they kill us on trade. You can’t have it that way. It is unfair to the taxpayers and people. I have a good relationship with Justin. I think a very good relationship with chairman Kim right now. I really do. I hope it’s good because if it is, we will solve a very big problem. We have gone a long way to solving it.
Should we keep going for a little while? I don’t know. It is up to the legendary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Should we keep going, Sarah? Okay. We’ll go. I don’t care. Hey, you know, it just means we get home later in the evening, right? Go ahead. Sure. Go ahead.
>> Hi, Mr. President. Welcome to Singapore.
>> Thank you.
>> I hope you enjoyed our food.
>> Very much. I did.
>> You described this as a process. What is the needed next step? Is there ongoing dialogue?
>> Yes. We are getting together next week to get into the details. Secretary Pompeo. Next week with John Bolton and entire team to go over details and get this stuff done. We want to get it done. He wants to get it done. We are also working very much with South Korea and working with Japan. We are working with China to a lesser extent. We are working with China.
>> Are you coming back to Singapore?
>> I would come back gladly. Your prime minister was fantastic. We were with him yesterday. It was very welcoming. Probably made a difference. Great place. Thank you very much. Yes, ma’am.
>> Thank you, Mr. President.
>> 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 you would know within the first minute if he wasn’t sincere.
>> I said that about relationships. I said that about people. You know in the first second. I was generous. Five seconds. You know in the first second in some cases. Sometimes that doesn’t work out. Sometimes it does. We didn’t just start coming in and talking about the complex subjects that have been going on for 70 years. We have been discussing this for months.
And you know, once the rhetoric stopped, once they did a great thing — you know, North Korea did a great thing by going to the Olympics. 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.
As soon as the chairman, Chairman Kim said, let’s participate in the Olympics, it sold like wildfire. He did a great thing. It was a great success. Since that time, pretty much since that time, delegation came from North Korea and came to the white house. They said lots of things, including the fact they would be willing to denuke. We have one of their great people here today that they were willing to denuke. Once that started we have been really talking about that from the end of the olympics when the delegation came to say various things including denuking.
>> If I may, a second question. In the document you signed earlier today, North Korea committed to denuclearization. To borrow a phrase to criticize your predecessors and political opponents. How do you ensure North Korea is not all talk and no action?
>> Can I ensure you will sit down properly when you sit down? 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 have done great at it. That’s what I do. 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. This could have been done a long time ago. I know for a fact. I feel very strongly. My instinct or ability or talent, they want to make it a deal. It is a great thing for the world. It is also a great thing for China. I can’t imagine China is happy with somebody having nuclear weapons so close. That’s China which was very helpful.
[brief section missing]
Be certain? We are going to be certain soon. The negotiations continue. Thank you very much. Go ahead.
>> You mentioned that you have raised extensively the issue of human rights with chairman Kim. I wonder what you would say with the people who have no ability to hear or see this press conference? The 100,000 North Koreans kept in a network of gulags? Have you legitimized them?
>> I think I helped them. There is nothing I can say. All I can do is do what I can do. We have to stop the nukes. At a certain point you will ask me a more positive question or make a statement. Not much I can do right now. At a certain point I believe he is going to do things about it. I think they are one of the great winners today.
That large group of people that you are talking about. I think they will be one of the great winners as a group. Yes, sir. Go ahead.
>> Would you ever consider removing the sanctions without significant improvement in the human rights significance?
>> I want significant improvement. I want to start that process. Although you cannot finish that process for a while, but you cannot go back. Once we reach that point, I’ll give that serious thought. Go ahead. You first.
>> Mr. President, how is North Korea going to foot the bill with sanctions are in place?
>> I think South Korea and Japan will help them greatly. I think they are prepared to help them. I think they will help them greatly.
The United States has been paying a big price in a lot of places. South Korea, which is right next door, and Japan, which essentially is next door will be helping them. They will do a generous job. Yes, ma’am.
>> Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to follow-up on Steve’s question. He asked how long it would take to denuclearization the Korean Peninsula. You said a long time. What does that mean?
>> I don’t know what you mean. Long time. I think we will do it as fast as scientifically and mechanically. I don’t think -- I read horror stories. A 15-year process. Assuming you wanted to do it quickly, I don’t believe that. I think whoever wrote that is wrong. There will be a point at which when you are 20 percent through you can’t go back. I had an uncle who was a great professor for 40 years at MIT.
I used to discuss nuke with him all the time. He was a great expert. A great brilliant genius. Dr. John Trump. MIT sent me a book on my uncle. We used to talk about nuclear. You talk about a complex subject. It is not just get rid of the — rid of the nukes. When you hit a certain point, you cannot go back.
>> How long will that take?
>> We don’t know, but it will be quickly.
>> Thank you, Mr. President. I want to ask again on the sanctions campaign. You said the Chinese are not doing as great a job securing the border as they were before. You expressed doubts when Kim went to see President Xi. The Russian foreign minister was in Pyongyang and said there shouldn’t be sanctions while negotiations are underway. And the South Koreans are talking about restoring some form of trade. 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?
>> I think we have a lot of leverage. We have tremendous leverage. I do believe that China, despite my relationship with President Xi, a man I said I have great respect for and like a lot, we’re having tough talks on trade. I think that affects China. I have to do what I have to do. I think over the last two months, the border is more open than it was when we first started. That is what it is. We have to do it. We have a tremendous, tremendous deficit in trade. Commonly known as a trade deficit. We have a tremendous deficit with China. We have to do something about it.
I think that has had an impact on my relationship in terms of the border. I don’t think it has the relationship — I don’t think it affects my feeling or relationship to President Xi. When we first started, we weren’t ready to go that route. As we have started preparing and getting ready to do that, it has had an impact on the border. I have to do it. For our country I have to do it. South Korea will do whatever is necessary to get a deal done. If we don’t trade, we won’t trade. If they think and they would do this with our concurrence. If they can do work because we are far down the line. We are far.
You know that document when you read it today, that is far down the line. That is not something that just happened to be put together. This was done over months. Again, the rhetoric was important and the sanctions were important. I don’t know which was more important. They were both important. Go ahead.
>> David Sanger with “The New York Times.” I wonder if you could give us some sense of chairman Kim told you how many nuclear weapons he believes he has made and whether he is willing to turn those over first and then whether in your mind you need to do more than done in the Iran deal for actually dismantling the uranium and plutonium processes and if you had a sense if Chairman Kim understood what that involves and a timetable in his mind of shutting that?
>> David, I can tell you he understands. He understands it so well. He understands it better than the people that were doing the work for him. That is an easy one. As far as what he has, it is substantial. The timing will go quickly. As an example, one of the things with the missile site, you were surprised to hear that. That was a throw-in at the end. The missile site.
I really believe, David, that it will go quickly and fast. It is a substantial arsenal. I used to say maybe it is all talk and no action. We have pretty good intelligence into that, although probably less than any other country. You probably understand that. We have enough intelligence to know what they have is substantial.
This is why, David, I say this should not have taken place so late in the process. Wouldn’t this be better five years ago or 10 years ago or 15 years ago? When we would not have to worry of having a successful meeting today. Go ahead. Thank you.
>> If there is a second summit with Kim Jong Un, will it be in Pyongyang?
>> We have not set that up. We’ll probably need another summit. We probably need another meeting. We can use a different term. We need another one. I will say this. We are much further along than I would have thought. I have told people. I not want to build up people’s hopes. I told people, I thought this would be a successful meeting if we got along. We developed a relationship and we could have gotten to this point in three or four months from now. It really happened quickly. A lot of that was because of the foundation that was put down before we met. A lot of things happened 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. Brought it up at the very end because so many people talked about it. I brought it up at the end. He was really gracious. Instead of saying let’s talk about it next time. He said it makes sense. We will do it. He knew. They know where many of those incredible people are and where they are buried. Along roads. Along highways. Along paths. Because our soldiers were moving back and forth and it will move rapidly. He knew. It is very sad. That was brought up in the very end. It is really great that he was able to do it. A lot of people will be very happy about that.
Yes, go ahead. Please.
>> Thank you, Mr. President. American news. Congratulations.
>> Thank you. Thank you for the nice way you are treating me. Really. Very good. Really very beautiful.
>> So —
>> Now I’ll probably get this killer question.
>> I do want to talk about the future of North Korea. Specifically the people. Kim Jong Un is saying he wants a brighter future with prosperity for his people. We know they lived under oppression. You showed the video of what the future could be like. Do you have an idea specifically of the model that he would like to go toward? Economically? Is he open to economic freedom?
>> It’s a good question. You saw the tape today. I think it was done really well. That was done at the highest level of future development. I told him you may not want this. You may want to do a smaller version of this. You may want to do a smaller version. You may not want that with the trains and everything. Super everything. Maybe you won’t want that. It will be up to them. It will be up to them and up to the people. They may not want that. I can understand that, too.
That was a version of what could happen and take place. They have great beaches. You see that whenever they are exploding the cannons in the ocean. I said look at that view. That would make a great condo. I explained it. I said instead of doing that, you could have the best hotels in the world. Think of it from the real estate prospective. South Korea and China and they own the land in the middle. Great. I told them, you may not want to do what’s there. You may want to do a smaller version of it. That could be. He looked at that tape. He looked at that iPad. I’m telling you, they really enjoyed it, I believe. Go ahead. A couple more. Okay. Three more. Go ahead.
>> Ryan Bennett from “Time” magazine.
>> Am I on the cover again this week?
>> It’s entirely possible. Do you now see Kim Jong Un as an equal?
>> In what way?
>> You just showed a video that showed you and Kim Jong Un on equal footing and discussing the future of the country.
>> 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 understand what you are getting at — if I have to say I’m sitting on a stage with Chairman Kim and that gets us to save 30 million lives, it could be more than that, I’m willing to sit on the stage. I’m willing to travel to Singapore. Gladly and proudly. Again, you know, other than the fact that it is taking my time. They have given up a tremendous amount. They have given it up before. Even add the Olympics. Add the olympics to the question. They went to the olympics.
They took an olympics that would have been a massive failure and made it a tremendous success by agreeing to participate. Add that to the list of things they have done. Brian, if I can save millions of lives coming here and sitting down and establishing a relationship with someone, who is a powerful man. He has firm control of a country and that country has very powerful nuclear weapons. It is my honor to do it.
>> Are you concerned the video shown to Kim could be used as propaganda?
>> Not at all. We can use that for other countries. Go ahead.
>> Mr. President, in the year 2000, President Clinton got a request from Kim Jong Il. You got the request and right away went here to meet him. Do you understand those people who said you gave him the ultimate present? The legitimacy to a people who oppresses its people before you as a United States president and leader of the free world meet and shake hands with this leader of North Korea which is oppressing his own people?
>> I think we just answered the question.
>> Do you understand?
>> I understand it much better than you do. Thank you very much.
>> Thank you, Mr. President. Ellie Johnson with Politico. You mentioned a couple of specifics from Kim Jong Un. The return of the remains and destruction of the nuclear site.
>> And more.
>> You said the last was an add-on and not in the agreement. 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 the process?
>> No. I think he will do it. I really believe it. It was really the engine testing site in addition to all of the other things that they agreed to do. They have a powerful engine testing site. Again, we’re able to see because of the heat it emits. I’m able to — I’m very happy with those two points. The two points you mentioned. You may be referring to the thing not in. The engine testing site. I think he will do these things. I may be wrong. I may stand before you in six months and say, hey, I was wrong. I don’t know I’ll ever admit that. I’ll find some excuse. One more. Go ahead.
>> Thank you, Mr. President. I want to know were you calling Chinese President Xi when you go back to DC. To discuss the achievements you made today with chairman Kim?
>> Yes, I will.
>> What is your expectation of China’s role in the process to establish relationships of long-term peace?
>> China is a great country and great leader who is a friend of mine. I believe he is happy we made this progress. I heard from him. I will call him shortly. Maybe before I land. I have to say the United States is a great country. We have set records economically over $7 trillion in net worth in addition to what we have. We are almost twice the size, the economy of the united States, nobody talks about this. You hear a lot about China. Rightfully so. The United States is almost twice the size of the economy of China. We have a great country and we’re on a correct path.
One more. That will be it. South Korea. Where is South Korea? I think you deserve it. Go ahead. You deserve one. Yes. You deserve one.
>> I have two questions for you, Mr. President. First, you mentioned earlier you will talk with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. What will you discuss with him?
>> I want to tell him about the meeting and it was very successful. He is a fine gentleman. Also a friend of mine. I look forward to speaking to him. He will be very happy. I sent word about what happened. I sent the document to him. And all of the details behind the document. I’ll talk to him shortly.
>> If I may ask another question. In signing the peace treaty, do you plan to work this out with North Korea’s chairman Kim only or what do you think about involvement of South Korea and China as signatories?
>> I would like to involve both of them. I think it would be great to have China involved and of course South Korea.
>> Thank you. Mike, do they have a transcript? You can give it out. They did not record it. I don’t think they are recording it. Are there recordings of it? I wish there were. It is interesting stuff. I don’t. We probably have some notes or something. They have actually detailed notes I imagine. We had a great conversation. A very heartfelt conversation.
I have one of the great memories of all time. I don’t have to do that. Okay. I don’t want to discuss it. We have had numerous discussions. We 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 were in the room. We have a few people in the room. When we went into the final agreement, we did not go in cold. We went in with tremendous leadership and knowledge. That’s why we got it done.
I’ll head back. I don’t know about you folks. It has been a long time since I have taken it easy. Now we can take it a little bit easy and the work begins again. I appreciate you being here. I hope I answered your questions.
Congratulations, everybody. This is, to me, an important event in world history and to be really true to myself, I have to add I want to get it completed. Mike and our team has to get to work and get it completed because otherwise we have done a good job. If you don’t get the ball over the goal line, it doesn’t mean enough.
Thank you. Congratulations to everybody in the room. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Thank you.