President Donald Trump said in remarks aired Sunday he saw a “good chance” of reaching deals on two key US foreign policy challenges: North Korean nuclear disarmament and trade relations with China.
Interviewed on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Trump said the date and venue of his upcoming second summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un had been agreed — and would likely be announced before or during his State of the Union address on Tuesday.
“The meeting is set,” said the president. “He’s looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to it.”
Vietnam is seen as the most likely venue for the Trump-Kim summit, which is expected to take place late this month and follows on from a landmark first face-to-face last June.
US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told Congress this week that “North Korea is unlikely to give up all of its nuclear weapons and production capabilities.”
That analysis runs counter to the position of the president, who once more argued in Sunday’s interview that “there’s also a very good chance that we will make a deal.”
“I think he’s also tired of going through what he’s going through,” said Trump, referring to the international sanctions pressing on Kim’s regime.
“He has a chance to have North Korea be a tremendous economic behemoth,” Trump continued. “He can’t do that with nuclear weapons and he can’t do that on the path they’re on now.”
“I like him. I get along with him great,” the president added. “We have a fantastic chemistry.”
The two leaders’ first meeting produced a vaguely-worded document in which Kim pledged to work towards “the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
But progress has since stalled with the two sides disagreeing over what that means.
Asked about the possibility of the United States pulling troops out of South Korea as it negotiates with Pyongyang, Trump doubled down on remarks by the US envoy on North Korea Stephen Biegun, who this week denied any such plans.
“We have 40,000 troops in South Korea, it’s very expensive. But I have no plans, I’ve never even discussed removing them,” Trump said.
The US president went on to praise China as having been “very helpful” with the North Korean dossier — and voiced optimism about the prospect of a deal to end their trade war.
“It looks like we’re doing very well with making a deal with China,” said Trump, who struck an upbeat note following two days of US-China trade talks at the White House this week.
The two sides face a March 1 deadline to avert a sharp increase in US duties on $200 billion in Chinese exports.
“I don’t know that we’re going to make one, but we have a good chance,” Trump said. “And if it is a deal it’s going to be a real deal. It’s not going to be a stopgap.”