President Trump said Thursday it is “certainly” possible he could invite Kim Jong Un to visit the White House if next week’s nuclear summit in Singapore “goes well.”
“I think that could happen," Trump said during a Rose Garden press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Speaking of the possibility, Trump said: “I think it will be well-received. I think he would look at it very favorably.”
The high-stakes Trump-Kim summit is scheduled for June 12.
Trump expressed optimism about the upcoming meeting, saying he hopes it “represents the beginning of a bright new future for North Korea and indeed a bright new future for the world." He even suggested he could extend a White House invitation.
But the president also said he’s prepared to walk away from the negotiating table if things go poorly.
“All I can say is I am totally prepared the walk away,” Trump said. “I did it once before. You have to be able to walk away.”
Trump initially had nixed the summit following hostile rhetoric from Pyongyang. But last Friday, Trump announced the summit between him and Kim was back on, following a lengthy meeting with a top North Korean official in the Oval Office. During that meeting, the visiting official gave him a personal letter from Kim.
On Thursday, Trump, for the first time, discussed the contents inside the letter.
“The letter was just a greeting,” Trump said. “Very nice. Perhaps I can get approval to put it out. A warm letter, a nice letter. I appreciated it very much. Nothing other than we look forward to seeing you and look forward to the summit and hopefully some wonderful things will work out.”
Abe, the prime minister of Japan, wished Trump well ahead of the meeting.
“I strongly hope that this historic summit in Singapore will be a resounding success,” Abe said.
Trump also said that “normalizing relations” with North Korea is something he hopes to do during the summit. He also said it’s possible an agreement formally ending the war between North and South Korea could be signed during the summit as a “first step.”
“That could happen,” Trump said. “But that's really the beginning. Sounds a little bit strange, but that's probably the easy part. The hard part remains after that.”
Trump said he doesn’t use the phrase “maximum pressure” when it comes to discussing his administration’s approach to North Korea anymore “because we're going into a friendly negotiation.”
If he starts using the phrase again, Trump said, “you’ll know the negotiation did not do well, frankly.”