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(3rd LD) Trump says he could invite Kim to U.S. if summit goes well

2018/06/08 04:32

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(ATTN: UPDATES with Trump's remarks at news conference in paras 1-9; CHANGES headline)

WASHINGTON, June 7 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday that he could invite North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to the United States if their meeting next week goes well.

The highly anticipated summit in Singapore is five days away as the two sides try to reach a deal on dismantling North Korea's nuclear weapons program in exchange for security guarantees.

Trump said he is prepared to walk if the negotiations don't go well, but he also dangled the possibility of a follow-up meeting in Washington.

"Maybe we'll start with the White House," he said during a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House.

This AFP photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on April 17, 2018. (Yonhap) This AFP photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on April 17, 2018. (Yonhap)

A visit to the U.S. would serve as a powerful symbol of normalizing ties between the former Korean War foes.

Trump said it's possible they will use next week's meeting to sign an agreement to end the conflict. The 1950-53 Korean War ended in armistice, leaving the two sides technically at war.

"As you know, that would be the first step but it's what happens after the agreement that really is the big point," he said. "Normalizing relations is something that I would expect to do, I would hope to do when everything is complete."

   Trump earlier expressed confidence that he is ready for the summit.

"The summit is all ready to go," he said at the top of his meeting with Abe, adding that both sides have been preparing for a long time.

"I think I'm very well prepared. I don't think I have to prepare very much," he said. "It's about attitude. It's about willingness to get things done ... So this isn't a question of preparation; it's a question of whether or not people want it to happen, and we'll know that very quickly."

   Trump and Kim are slated to meet at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

The president said it will be more than just a photo-op and could be followed by additional meetings.

"I think it's not a one-meeting deal. It would be wonderful if it were," he said. "They have to denuke. If they don't denuclearize, that will not be acceptable."

   The summit comes after Trump and Kim exchanged threats and personal insults last year over Pyongyang's testing of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles capable of reaching the continental U.S.

Abe has been pushing Trump to also address Japan's concerns about North Korea's short- and medium-range ballistic missiles and the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by Pyongyang decades ago.

Tokyo is also a strong advocate of the international sanctions regime against Pyongyang.

"We cannot take sanctions off," Trump said. "I could add a lot more, but I've chosen not to do that at this time, but that may happen."

   Trump said U.S. and North Korean officials are "working very hard" in Singapore to prepare for the summit.

"It's all going along very fine and I hope it continues on this track," he said. "If it does, the world will be a very happy place."

   hague@yna.co.kr

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