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Stories Stories Politics EXCLUSIVE: 'I do trust him': Trump opens up about Kim after historic summit

EXCLUSIVE: 'I do trust him': Trump opens up about Kim after historic summit
Written by jonathan     June 12, 2018    
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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."

Speaking about specifics

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.

Trump pointed to the international partners that he plans to work with in the pursuit of a denuclearized North Korea, pointing to South Korea, Japan, and China as countries that he plans to work with moving forward. An underlying strain of Trump's takeaways from the interview was Kim's perceived willingness to do the right thing.

"Over my lifetime I've done a lot of deals with a lot of people and sometimes the people you most distrust turn out to be the most honorable ones and the people that you do trust turn out to be not the honorable ones," Trump said.

"I believe he wants to get it done."

Trump suggested there could be another meeting of the two leaders in the future and that he would like to hold a gathering at the White House.

"I would love to have him at the White House. Whatever it takes," Trump said.

Talking about Trudeau

Trump arrived in Singapore on Sunday evening local time, fresh off of the G-7 summit in Quebec having angered American allies over his administration's move to impose steep tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from the European Union, Mexico and Canada. Trump backed out of a joint communique with other G-7 countries that acknowledged "free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade is a key engine for growth and jobs."

Trump rescinded his endorsement after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a news conference saying all seven countries had signed the communique despite "some strong, firm conversations on trade, and specifically American tariffs."

Trudeau said he informed Trump that Canadians "who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with American soldiers in far-off lands" do not take lightly the idea that the tariffs are for national-security reasons.

"It's kind of insulting," Trudeau said.

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