President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he would like to see the U.S. normalization its relationship with North Korea after the necessary steps are complete.
“We would like to see normalization, yes,” Trump said in a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe.
Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un are scheduled to meet June 12 in Singapore over North Korea’s rogue nuclear program and the prospect of peace on the Korean peninsula. The summit was originally planned for later in the spring in March, but Trump canceled the summit last month over North Korea’s hostile rhetoric toward the Trump administration. The meeting was back on track after North Korea sent a top official to Washington last week. Trump met with Kim Yong Chol, a former top spy for North Korea, in the Oval Office.
Fox News reporter John Roberts asked Trump if he would be willing to go as far as normalize relations with the country and agree to an official end the war on the peninsula.
“Mr. President, would you be willing to go so far as to normalize relations with North Korea? And what about the idea of signing some sort of an agreement to end the war?” Roberts asked.
“It could be. We could sign an agreement – as you know, that would be a first step,” Trump responded. “It is what happens after the agreement that really is the big point. Yes, we could absolutely sign an agreement. We’re looking at it. We’re talking about it with them and talking about it with a lot of other people.”
The Korean War never officially ended but instead has endured a decades long ceasefire.
Trump reiterated that the agreement to end the war would only be the beginning, saying the difficult part would come after.
“But that’s the beginning. Sounds a little bit strange, but that’s probably the easy part. The hard parts remains after that,” Trump said.
Roberts followed up and asked specifically about normalizing relations.
“That is something I would hope to do that when everything is complete,” Trump responded.
In the past, Trump used rhetoric like “fire and fury” to describe how the U.S. might respond to North Korea, but tensions between the two nations have lessened in the past few months. The Trump administration has pushed for North Korea to denuclearize, while promising security and prosperity in return.