North Korea will denuclearize, President Trump declared in an exclusive interview with ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos just hours after intense and historic negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Stephanopoulos asked how Trump could trust the brutal dictator.
“I do trust him, yeah,” Trump said. “Maybe in a year you’ll be interviewing and I’ll say I made a mistake. It’s possible. We’re dealing at a high level, a lot of things can change a lot of things are possible.”
He pressed the president on his previous criticism of North Korea’s human rights abuses including starving his people, running labor camps and assassinating members of his own family.
“George, I’m given what I’m given,” Trump said. “This is what we have, this is where we are, and I can only tell you from my experience, and I’ve met him, I’ve spoken with him. I’ve met him. And this is, this has started early and it’s been very intense. I think that he really wants to do a great job for North Korea. I think he wants to de-nuke, without that, there’s nothing to discuss. It was on the table from the beginning, and you see a total denuclearization of North Korea – so important.”
What was gained in the historic summit
Trump talked about the agreements that were reached at the summit in Singapore today, saying that he believes the North Korean leader “wants to do the right thing”.
“We have the framework for getting ready to denuclearize,” Trump said. “He’s de-nuking the whole place. I think he’s going to start now.”
Trump seemed to hold an optimistic take on Kim’s intentions, saying that the dictator “really wants to do something I think terrific for their country.”
When asked if there was talk of pulling U.S. troops out of South Korea, Trump said the topic didn’t come up.
“We didn’t discuss that, no. We’re not going to play the war games… I thought they were very provocative. I also they’re also very expensive,” Trump said.
Another potential sticking point that didn’t come up? The nuclear umbrella that the U.S. has over South Korea, that is intended to protect it from any missile strikes from the North.
When asked by Stephanopoulos if the removal of the nuclear umbrella was “on the table,” Trump said no, saying the umbrella had not even been discussed.