Trump meets Kim and predicts ‘terrific relationship’
June 12, 2018 07:38 am
President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un of North Korea came face to face on Tuesday, with the U.S. leader predicting that the pair would “have a terrific relationship ahead” as they kicked off a much-anticipated summit with potentially far-reaching consequences for North Korea’s nuclear program and U.S. national security.
The two leaders briefly met before the cameras in an outside section of Singapore’s Capella resort, simultaneously walking toward each other on a red carpet and shaking hands at length in front of a row of alternating U.S. and North Korean flags. The pair later sat next to each other and, accompanied by translators, exchanged additional comments.
“I feel really great. Going to have a great reception,” Trump said. “And tremendous success, going to be tremendously successful. And it is my honor and we will have a terrific relationship ahead.”
“It was not easy to get here,” Kim said. “There were obstacles but we overcame them to be here.”
Trump’s meeting with Kim could prove the most dramatic moment of his presidency to date.
The main topic of discussion is a North Korean nuclear program that has advanced at least to the brink of being able to strike the continental U.S., a threat that Trump says he will not tolerate. Politically, the summit is a chance for Trump to play the role of statesman and dealmaker, defying critics who call him a threat to global stability, and at least temporarily quiet Washington’s fixation on his ties to Russia.
It remains unclear whether the meeting will produce any tangible promises — including a possible exchange of security guarantees by the U.S. in return for a pledge by Kim to surrender his nuclear arsenal. Trump has suggested a potential deal in which the U.S. normalizes relations with Kim’s pariah nation if it disarms. Skeptics worry the summit could produce nothing more than a photo-op that does little to delay a potential military conflict.
Hours before the meeting, Trump went on Twitter to taunt the “haters & losers” who he said have criticized his decision to meet with Kim — insisting the U.S. has already made headway in its relationship with the country.
“The fact that I am having a meeting is a major loss for the U.S., say the haters & losers,” Trump tweeted from Singapore. “We have our hostages, testing, research and all missle launches have stoped, and these pundits, who have called me wrong from the beginning, have nothing else they can say! We will be fine!”
The tweet followed an earlier one in which Trump raised hopes and simultaneously acknowledged the uncertainty that surrounds the summit, which could help define his early presidency. “Meetings between staffs and representatives are going well and quickly,” Trump tweeted, adding: “...but in the end, that doesn’t matter. We will all know soon whether or not a real deal, unlike those of the past, can happen!”
Shortly before he saw Kim, Trump announced on Twitter that one of his top economics advisers, Lawrence Kudlow, had suffered a heart attack and was being treated at Walter Reed hospital, news that injected even more uncertainty into a roller-coaster news cycle.