US President Donald Trump has expressed hope that North Korea and South Korea can one day live in peace, ahead of his planned summit with North Koreaís leader Kim Jong-un.
We hope to see the day when the whole Korean peninsula can live together in safety, prosperity and peace," Trump told a joint press conference with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida on Wednesday.
"As Iíve said before, there is a bright path available to North Korea when it achieves denuclearization in a complete and verifiable and irreversible way," Trump said.
"It will be a great day for them and a great day for the world," he added.
Trump, who is planning to meet North Koreaís leader in the next two months, also raised the possibility that the meeting might be called off because of lack of agreement over an agenda or because it might not be successful.
“If I think that it’s a meeting that is not going to be fruitful, we’re not going to go,” Trump said. “If the meeting, when I’m there, is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting.”
The US president, however, outlined some of the parameters of the talks. He said he will seek the release of three American hostages and an agreement in which North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons.
Washington currently does not have diplomatic relations with Pyongyang, although the two sides were in high-level contacts in the past.
Earlier on Wednesday, Trump confirmed that Mike Pompeo, the current CIA director who is also Trump’s designated secretary of state, recently traveled to Pyongyang for a secret meeting with the North Korean leader.
"Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong-un in North Korea last week. Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed. Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!" Trump tweeted.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Pompeo made a secret visit to North Korea during the first weekend of April, citing two people with direct knowledge of the trip.
The extraordinary meeting between one of Trumpís most trusted officials and Kim was part of an effort to lay the groundwork for direct talks between Trump and Kim about North Koreaís nuclear weapons program, the newspaper said.
After spending the better part of the last year exchanging nuclear threats, Trump and Kim finally agreed to sit down and resolve their issues over Pyongyang’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs.
While the North has yet to publicly confirm the meeting, a South Korean envoy said after returning from a Pyongyang visit that Kim had indeed agreed to directly talk to Trump and discuss Pyongyang’s denuclearization.
China is also expected to play an important role in the talks as Pyongyang’s main trade partner. The Chinese have also briefed their American counterparts following Kim and President Xi Jinping meeting in Beijing late last month.