WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — North Korea was high on the agenda when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with President Donald Trump at the White House on Thursday.
Trump and Abe spoke in the Oval Office and had a working lunch before holding a joint press conference in the Rose Garden.
Before leaving Japan, Abe told reporters he wanted to be on the same page with Trump ahead of the president’s June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
It appears that’s the case.
“Japan and the U.S. are always together. I certainly hope this historic summit in Singapore will be a resounding success,” Abe said.
However, Abe said Trump “fully understands” the need to bring home at least a dozen Japanese citizens detained in North Korea, adding the president “is one of the leaders who understands the issue the most, the greatest.”
Trump and Abe have discussed the issue many times, including during the president’s visit to Tokyo last fall.
Abe also said that any deal Trump may make with Kim must address all weapons of mass destruction and mid-range ballistic missiles.
Trump said he had productive conversations with Abe about defense and commerce, referring to America’s “steadfast alliance with Japan.”
The meeting between Trump and Kim will be the first between a sitting U.S. president and a leader of the rogue nation.
“We are going to have a great success. I don’t think it will be done in one meeting. This has been going on for many decades. It should have been solved by many presidents. … But it wasn’t, so I will solve it,” Trump said.
Later, the president said trying to get Kim to eliminate his country’s nuclear arsenal is not the only thing on his agenda. The U.S. and North Korea have been in a formal state of war since the Korean War in the 1950s.
“Normalizing relations is something that I would hope to do” once the negotiations are completed, Trump said, adding there are a “lot of good factors lined up for North Korea.”
Trump said would “certainly” invite Kim to visit the United States if summit negotiations in Singapore go well.
But Trump said that he is also “totally prepared to walk” if things don’t go well, noting that he “did it once before.”
Trump said he’d probably favor the White House over his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, as a venue for hosting Kim, saying: “Maybe we’ll start with the White House.”
He also said he believes Kim is prepared to do something that will be great for his country, his family and himself.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)