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EARLY START

Trump-Kim Press Conference. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired June 12, 2018 - 04:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I asked for it today. And we got it.

That was a very last minute. The remains will be coming back. They're going to start that process immediately. But so many people, even during the campaign, they'd say, "Is there any way you can work with North Korea to get the remains of my son back" or "my father back?"

So many people asked me this question and I said, "look, we don't get along too well with that particular group of people," but now we do. And he agreed to that so quickly and so nice. It was really a very nice thing.

And he understands it. He understands it. So, for the thousands and thousands, I guess way over 6,000 that we know of in terms of the remains, they'll be brought back.

QUESTION: The POW/MIA issue clearly is very important one for thousands...

TRUMP: Especially to a lot of people that are...

QUESTION: But what do you, President Trump, expect Kim Jong-un to do about the human rights record regarding the North Korean people?

TRUMP: Right. It was discussed. It was discussed relatively briefly compared to denuclearization. Well, obviously that's where we started and where we ended. But they will be doing things.

And I think he wants to do things. I think he wants to -- you would be very surprised. Very smart, very good negotiator. Wants to do the right thing. He brought up the fact that in the past they took dialogue for -- they never were like we are. There's never been anything like what's taken place now. But they went down the line. Billions of dollars were given and the following day, the nuclear program continued. But this is a much different time and this is a much different president in all fairness.

This is very important to me. This was one of the, perhaps one of the reasons that I want, I campaigned on this issue, as you know very well, John. OK. Whoever those people are, I cannot see with all the lights. But you don't look like either of the two.

Yes, go ahead. Sure. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. And first of all, congratulations.

TRUMP: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

QUESTION: I'll touch on the issue of peace treaty.

TRUMP: Yes.

QUESTION: And also will you travel to Pyongyang any time soon?

TRUMP: Well, at a certain I will. That will be a day that I look very much forward to at the appropriate time. And I also will be inviting Chairman Kim at the appropriate time to the White House.

I think it's really going to be something that will be very important. And he has accepted. I said at the appropriate time. We want to go a little bit further down the road. But what we signed today was a lot of things included.

And then you have things that weren't included that we got after the deal was signed. I've done that before in my life. And we didn't put it in the agreement because we didn't have time. And I think most of you have been handed out the agreement or soon will.

But I -- oh, you have not? OK. Well, if you could have those agreements passed out. We just finished them just a little while ago. But if you could have the agreements passed out, you'll see what we're talking about.

Yes, sir. Go ahead.

QUESTION: I will second congratulations, Mr. President.

TRUMP: Thank you.

QUESTION: What part did Japan play and did the abduction issue come up?

TRUMP: Yes.

QUESTION: Also, the fate of the Christians?

TRUMP: Yes.

QUESTION: And the final question is when will you be doing the interview with Japanese TV 50,000 American troops are in Japan (inaudible).

TRUMP: That's true, 50,000 great troops. Yes, I did abduction, absolutely. Prime Minister Abe is one of his (inaudible) other than the whole de-nuking subject, certainly his -- I would say his main point. And I brought it up absolutely. And they're going to be working on that. It will be -- we didn't put it down in the document. But it will be worked on.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) TRUMP: Christians, yes, we are -- brought it up very strongly. Franklin Graham spent and spends a tremendous amount of time in North Korea. He's got it very close to his heart. It did come up and things will be happening. OK? Great. Question.

Yes, John, go ahead.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

TRUMP: Thank you, John.

QUESTION: Returning to the question of human rights. You spoke very powerfully on the issue during your State of the Union address.

TRUMP: Right.

QUESTION: You showed that you had the defector and the first lady's box with the crutches who escaped. And at that point said that 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? And (inaudible) to change that.

TRUMP: Right. John, I believe it's a rough situation over there. There's no question about it. And we did discuss it today pretty strongly.

[04:35:00] I mean knowing what the main purpose of what we were doing is de-nuking, but discussed it in a pretty good length. We'll be doing something on it, it's rough, it's rough in a lot of places by the way. Not just there, but it's rough. And we will continue that and I think ultimately we'll agree to something. But it was discussed at length outside of -- outside of the nuclear situation, one of the primary topics.

QUESTION: Do you think that needs to change to bring on this glorious new era you've talked about? Are they going to have to...

TRUMP: I think it will change, yes, I think it probably has to, but I think it will. Yes. Thank you, thank you very much. Steve, that's you Steve right there.

QUESTION: Yes, sir. Thank you. What timetable do you envision for their denuclearization? And in the meantime, are you thinking about easing any sanctions?

TRUMP: Well, you know, scientifically, I've been watching and reading a lot of about this, and it does take a long time to, you know, pull off complete denuclearization, it takes a long time scientifically, you have to wait certain periods of time, and a lot of things happen, but despite that, once you start the process, it means it's pretty much over. You can't use them, that's the good news. And that's going to start very soon, I believe that's going to start very soon. And we will do it as fast as it can mechanically and physically be done, Steve.

QUESTION: And the sanctions? TRUMP: The sanctions will come off when we are sure that the nukes are no longer a factor. Sanctions played a big role, but they'll come off at that point, and I hope it's going to be soon, but they'll come off, they -- as you know, when as I've said, the sanctions right now remain, but at a certain point, I actually look forward to taking them off, and they'll come off when we know we're down the road where it's not going to happen. Nothing's going to happen.

QUESTION: Okay.

TRUMP: Yes. Go ahead please?

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

TRUMP: Thank you.

QUESTION: Congratulations on this historic summit.

TRUMP: Thank you very much. Congratulations to everybody by the way. Congratulations to everybody. Go ahead.

QUESTION: You signed a document with Kim Jung-un. It's 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 a signed off on pieces of paper only to find that the North Koreans either didn't promise what we thought they had or actually reneged on those promises, what makes this time different, Mr. President?

TRUMP: Well, you have a different administration, you have a different president. You have a different secretary of state, here you have people that are, you know, it's very important to them, and we get it done.

The other groups maybe it wasn't a priority, I don't think they could have done it if it was a priority, frankly. I don't think they honestly could have done it even if it was a priority. And it would have been easier back then, it would have been, for me, it would have been much easier if this were 10 years ago or five years ago. And I'm not just blaming President Obama, I mean, this goes back for 25 years this should have happened. I was given a very tough hand, I was given this, I was given the Iran deal, and plenty of other problems, but we are -- so we're doing really well. And the Iran deal, I have to honest, we -- I did it because nuclear is always number one to me. Nuclear is number one.

But on the Iran deal, I think Iran is a different country now than it was three or four months ago. I don't think they're looking so much to the Mediterranean, I don't think they're looking so much at Syria like they were with total confidence. I don't think they're so confident right now. But I hope with that being said, I hope that at the appropriate time after these sanctions kick in -- and they are brutal, what we've put on Iran. I hope that they're going to come back and negotiate a real deal, because I'd love to be able to do that. But right now it's too soon for that. Yes? Please?

QUESTION: Mr. President, you also talk about establishing diplomatic relations.

TRUMP: Yeah.

QUESTION: Changes -- exchanging ambassadors, how long before that happens?

TRUMP: Good question, hopefully soon, but we'll have to get things moving first, very -- little bit early for that. We have to get things moving. Yes, go ahead? Hi.

QUESTION: Can you clarify when you said you're stopping war games?

TRUMP: Yeah.

QUESTION: So you are stopping the military exercises with South Korea?

TRUMP: Yes, we've done exercises for a long period of time working South Korea. And we call them war games, that I call them war games, and they're tremendously expensive, the amount of money that we spend on that is incredible. And South Korea contributes but not a hundred percent, which is certainly a subject that we have to talk to them about also. And that has to do with the military expense and also the trade. So, we're doing that, we actually have a new deal with South Korea in terms of the trade deal. But we have to talk them, and we have to talk to many countries about treating us fairly.

But the war games are very expensive, we pay for a big majority of them, we fly in bombers from Guam, I said it when I first started, I said, where do the bombers come from? Guam, nearby, I said, "Oh, great. Nearby. Where is nearby? Six and a half hours. Six and a half hours?

[04:40:00]

That's a long time for these big massive planes to be flying to South Korea to practice and then drop bombs all over the place and then go back to Guam.

I know a lot about airplanes, it's very expensive. And I didn't like it. And what I -- what I did say is -- and I think it's very provocative, I have to tell you, Jennifer, it's a very provocative situation. When I see that, and you have a country right next door, so under the circumstances that we are negotiating a very comprehensive, complete deal, I think it's inappropriate to be having war games.

So number one, we save money, a lot, and number two, it really is something that I think they very much appreciated.

QUESTION: Is North Korea giving something in return though?

TRUMP: Well, we've got, you know, I've heard that, I mean, some of the people that -- I don't know, maybe they really mean it, I don't -- I don't always want to go against the press, because I just don't. Especially not today, this is too important. But I notice that some of the people are saying that the president has agreed to meet, he's 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 because we've been negotiating for, literally, around the clock with them, and with us, and with John, and with Mike, and a whole team of very talented people. But we haven't given up anything other than, you're right, I agreed to meet.

And I think the meeting was every bit as good for the United States as it was for North Korea, but I just wrote down some of the things we got and they, you know, they, sure, they got a meeting, but only a person the dislikes Donald Trump would say that I've agreed to make a big commitment. Sure, I've agreed to take a period of time and come here and meet, and that's good. But I think it's great for us, and I -- as a country, and I think it's good for them. But what did they do to justify this meeting. Secured commitment for complete denuclearization. That's the big. They secured the release of three American hostages, they already gave them to us two months ago.

These people are now living happily back in their homes with their families. And 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're giving a commitment, they're starting it immediately to recover the remains, and I just went through how many people asked me about it, I was amazed actually, so many people would ask me, is it possible, is it possible?

At that time, we had no relationship to Chairman Kim or to anybody else in North Korea, you know, 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? So you haven't had a missile go up. For seven months, you haven't had a nuclear test, you haven't had a nuclear explosion.

I remember a nuclear event took place, 8.8 on the Richter scale, and they announced -- I heard it on the radio, they announced that a massive, you know, an earthquake took place somewhere in Asia. And then they said it was in North Korea, and then they found out it was a nuclear test, I said, I never heard of a Richter scale in the high eights.

And if you look, there's been no missile launches, they've blown up their missile area, that's going to take place, that has not been written into the contract, we're going to give you the exact details on that. But they secured a halt of all missiles and of all nuclear tests, they secured the closure of their single primary nuclear test flight -- 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've got this missile engine testing site, we know where it is because of the heat, we -- it's incredible the equipment we have, to be honest with you. I said, can you close it up? They're going to close it up. We maintained the ability to continue to apply sanctions, so we're applying sanctions.

[04:45:00] Now, I had 300 sanctions that I was getting ready to put on last week and I said, you know, I can't really put on sanctions when I'm meeting with, I thought it would be very disrespectful, 300 very big ones, powerful ones. And I said it would be disrespectful.

So, Jennifer, when you look at all of those things that we got and when we got our hostages back, I didn't pay 1.8 billion in cash like the hostages that came back from Iran, which was a disgraceful situation, what took place. So, we've gotten a lot, so when I hear somebody in the media say that President Trump has agreed to meet, like it's not a big deal to meet, I think we should meet on a lot of different topics not just this one, and I really believe a lot of great things can happen. Yes, go ahead please?

QUESTION: Sir, you just listed off a lot of things that you say you got in this meeting. It wasn't too long ago though that you said that you define success of this meeting by North Korea giving up its nuclear weapon.

TRUMP: Well, that's what they're doing.

QUESTION: Well, can you talk about how...

TRUMP: Sure, that's what they're doing. I mean, I don't think these...

QUESTION: (Inaudible)

TRUMP: Yes.

QUESTION: (inaudible) for a complete verifiable irreversible -

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Yes, I didn't honestly...

QUESTION: OK. Can you say why you didn't...

TRUMP: Right.

QUESTION: ... secure those details in this agreement?

TRUMP: Because there's no time. I'm here one day, we're together for many hours intensively, but the process is now going to take place. And I would be surprised, Mike, if they haven't even started already, they have started, they blew up their sites, they blew up their testing site.

So, but I will say, he knew prior to coming, you know, this wasn't like a surprise, it wasn't like we've never discussed it, we discussed it, Mike discussed it very strongly with his counterpart in North Korea, they knew that this was -- let's say they didn't agree to that, I couldn't sign any agreement. There was no agreement that could have been signed. So, they understood that. And 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.

So, when we brought that up today, you see the language is very strong. It's in the document. Yes, ma'am?

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. Could you talk about the military consequences for North Korea if they don't follow up through along the commitment that you're talking about?

TRUMP: Well, I don't want to talk -- yeah, I know, that's a tough thing to talk about because I don't want to be threatening, I don't want to be threatening, they understood that. And you've seen what was perhaps going to happen, and, you know, Seoul has 28 million people, we think we have big cities, you look at New York where it has eight million people, we think it's a big city. Seoul has 28 million people, think of that, and it's right next to the border. It's right next to the DMZ.

It's right there, I mean, if this would have happened, I think, you know, I've heard, "Oh, a hundred thousand people," I think you could have lost 20 million people, 30 million people. This is really an honor for me to be doing this, because I think, you know, potentially, you could have lost, you know, 30, 40, 50 million people -- the city of Seoul, one of the biggest cities in the world is right next to the border.

QUESTION: Well, let's talk about fire and fury, is that no longer the case?

TRUMP: Well, at that time we needed perhaps fire and fury, because we could not have allowed that kind of capability from the standpoint of the United States, and certainly Japan wasn't going to allow it either, Japan is right next door.

QUESTION: Mr. President, could you tell us about the video that you showed before this?

TRUMP: Yes.

QUESTION: I mean, did you show that to Kim, what was the focus there?

TRUMP: Today. Yeah. We had it made up by some -- 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. And we had it made up -- I showed it to him today, actually during the meeting towards the end of the meeting, and I think he loved it, he -- and they were given -- we didn't have the big screen like you have the luxury of having, we didn't need it, because we had it on a cassette and an iPad. And they played it, and about eight of their representatives who were watching it, and I thought they were fascinated by that, I thought it was well done, I showed it to you because that's the future, I mean, that could very well be the future.

And the other alternative, it's just not a very good alternative, it's just not good. But I showed up because I really want him to do something. Now, I don't think I had to show it, because I really believe he wants to -- I think he wants to get it done. Yes? Go ahead? How is Staten Island Ferry doing? OK. He wrote the best story about me with the Staten Island Ferry and after that he's never written a good story, I don't know what -- I don't know what happened. It's a long time ago.

[04:50:00]

QUESTION: Mr. President, it's been a busy week for you on the international stage. You're leaving this summit here in Singapore having determined that Kim Jong-un is a talented man. You left the G-7 summit a few days ago in Canada having determined that Prime Minister Trudeau is weak and dishonest. What do you say America's allies who worry that you might be jeopardizing our long-term alliances and who worry that you might be treating our historic friends as enemies and our historic enemies as friends?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, I think it's a very fair question. I had a very good meeting with the G-7 and I left the meeting and I'll be honest, we are being taken advantage of by virtually every one of those countries, very, very seriously.

Now, the United States because of bad management at the top, because the presidents that didn't care about trade or didn't understand it or whatever reason, for many years with China being obviously the most successful at it, but the European Union is second, 151 billion we lost, they were represented at the meeting. And we're being 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. I was reading where "It's actually of surplus". It's not a surplus. It's either 17 but it could actually be 100. They put out a document, I don't know if you saw it, that they want me to see it, but we found it, perhaps they were trying to show the power they have. It's 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 that a few months ago, they raised it to 295 percent for dairy products and it's very unfair to our farmers and it's very unfair to the people of our country, the workers, the farmers, the companies and we are not able to trade.

They have tremendous barriers up. They have tremendous tariffs. So, when I put in a countervailing tariff just to get us up a little bit so the balance isn't so much, it's like this, they said, "That's so terrible." I said, "What's terrible? We have to catch you a little bit. We have to have a little balance. Even if it's not complete, we have to have a little balance. I say this with many countries.

Anyway, we finished the meeting, really everybody was happy and I agree to sign something. I asked for changes. I demanded changes and those changes were made. In fact the picture with Angela Merkel who I get along with very well where I'm sitting there like this, that picture was we're waiting for the document because I wanted to see the final document as changed by the changes that I requested. That's very friendly. I know it didn't look friendly and I know it's reported like sort of nasty both ways, I was angry at her, she -- actually, we were just talking, the whole group, about something unrelated to everything, very friendly, waiting for the document to come back, so I could read it before I leave.

Anyway, I left and it was very friendly. When I got onto the plane, I think that Justin probably didn't know that Air Force 1 has about 20 televisions and I see the television that he's 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.

Look. 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, but over the last couple of years, this country has lost $800 billion on trade with other countries, the biggest one being China -- $800 billion, $151 billion with the European Union. They don't take our agricultural products, barely. They don't take a lot of what we have and yet they send Mercedes into us. They send BMWs into us by the millions. It's very unfair and it's very unfair to our workers and I'm going to straighten it out and it won't even be tough, OK?

Thank you. Go ahead. Go ahead.

QUESTION: (inaudible).

TRUMP: I would like to involve Congress. Yes. And, no, I have a good relationship with Justin Trudeau, I really did, other than he had a news conference that he had because he assumed I was an airplane and I wasn't watching. He learned. That's going to cost a lot of money for the people of Canada. He learned. You can't do that. You can't do that.

We left, we had a very good relationship. I've had a good relationship with Justin. I have a good relationship with Angela Merkel, but on NATO, we're paying 4.2 percent. She's paying 1 percent of a much smaller GDP than we have. We're paying 4.2 percent on a much larger, we're paying for. I mean, anyone can say from 60 percent to 90 percent of NATO and we're protecting countries of Europe and then, on top of it, they kill us on trade.

[04:55:00]

So, we just can't have it that way. It's unfair to our taxpayers and to our people. But, no, I have a good relationship with Justin and I have I think a very good relationship with Chairman Kim right now. I really do. I think, I hope it's good because if it is, we're going to solve a very big problem. I think we've gone a long way to solving it today.

Should we keep going for a little while? I don't know. It's up to the legendary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Should we keep going, Sarah? OK. We'll go. Well, I don't care. Hey, just means we get home a little later in the evening, right?

Yes. Go ahead. Sure, go ahead. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi, Mr. President.

TRUMP: How are you?

QUESTION: I'm good.

TRUMP: Nice to see you.

QUESTION: Straits Times of Singapore. Welcome to the country.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

QUESTION: I hope you're enjoying our food.

TRUMP: It's a beautiful country. I did.

QUESTION: What is the immediate next step? Are there are some ongoing dialogues?

TRUMP: Yes. So, we're getting together next week to go into the details, Secretary Pompeo, yes, next week with John Bolton and/or the entire team to go over the details and to get this stuff done. We want to get it done, he wants to get it done.

We're also working very much with South Korea. We're working with Japan. We're working with China to a lesser extent, but we're working with China.

QUESTION: And you are coming back to Singapore?

TRUMP: I would come back gladly. Your prime minister was fantastic. We're with them yesterday. He's done a great job. It was very welcoming and really it probably made a difference actually. It's a great place. Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

TRUMP: Yes, ma'am?

QUESTION: 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 that you would know within the first minute...

TRUMP: Yes. I've said that about relationships. I've said that about people. In the first second -- I was generous. I said five seconds, but in the first second in some cases, sometimes, that doesn't work out. But sometimes it does.

From the beginning, we got along. But there's been a lot of ground work. This wasn't like we went and we started talking about as you know, right? We didn't just come in and start talking about these very complex subjects that have been going on for 70 years. We've been discussing this for months. And once the rhetoric stopped, once they did a great thing -- North Korea did a great thing by going to the Olympics because 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. And as soon as the chairman, Chairman Kim, said "Let's participate in the Olympics", it sold like wildfire and was a great success as an Olympics. It was a great success. He did a great thing.

But since that time, pretty much since that time, because as you know a delegation came from South Korea who just met with North Korea, they came to the White House. They told me lots of things including the fact that they'd be willing to de-nuke, we have one of their great people here today, that they were willing to de-nuke.

And once that started, we have been really talking about that from the end of the Olympics when the whole delegation came to say various things including de-nuking.

QUESTION: If I may, a second question, in the document that you signed earlier today, North Korea agreed to commit to denuclearization. To borrow a phrase that you have used to criticize your predecessors and political opponents, how do you ensure that North Korea is not all talk, no action?

TRUMP: Well, I think can you ensure anything? Can I ensure that you're going to be able to sit down properly when you sit down? I mean, 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've done great at it. That's what I do.

And 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, but it is my thing. I mean, again, this really could have been done I think easier a long time ago. But I know for -- I just feel very strongly, my instinct, my ability or talent, they want to make a deal and making a deal is a great thing for the world. It's also a great thing for China because I can't imagine that China is happy with somebody having nuclear weapons so close. So, China was very helpful.

So, I think he wants to make a deal. Can anybody be certain? But, we're going to be certain soon because the negotiations continue. OK. Thank you very much.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: You mentioned that you have raised the sensitive issue of human rights with Chairman Kim.

TRUMP: Yes.

QUESTION: I wonder what you would say to the group of people who have no ability whatsoever to hear or to see this press conference, the 100,000 North Koreans kept in a network of --