While at the G-7 Summit in Canada, President Donald Trump said he is on a “mission of peace” as he is heading to Singapore where he will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong un.
President Trump began his journey to Singapore on Saturday by exuding optimism about negotiations with North Korea, but also warning that this is â€œa one-time shotâ€ for leader Kim Jong Un.
Pledging economic assistance to Kimâ€™s government if he gives up nuclear weapons programs, Trump told reporters,Â â€œweÂ really think that North Korea that will be a tremendous place in a very short period of time … They’re really working very well with us.”
Speaking with reporters upon leaving the G-7 summit in Canada, Trump did not spell out what might happen if Kim refuses to take up the â€œone-time shotâ€ offer.
â€œIâ€™ll be on a mission of peace,â€ Trump said.
Trump said he will be able to determine quickly whether Kim is serious.Â â€œWithin the first minute, Iâ€™ll know,â€ Trump said. â€œMy touch, my feel … Thatâ€™s what I do.â€
Later in the day Trump echoed his comments on Twitter, pledging the meeting would “certainly be an exciting day.”
“I am on my way to Singapore where we have a chance to achieve a truly wonderful result for North Korea and the World. It will certainly be an exciting day and I know that Kim Jong-un will work very hard to do something that has rarely been done before,” Trump tweeted. “…Create peace and great prosperity for his land. I look forward to meeting him and have a feeling that this one-time opportunity will not be wasted!”
â€¦Create peace and great prosperity for his land. I look forward to meeting him and have a feeling that this one-time opportunity will not be wasted!
â€” Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2018
Foreign policy analysts have questioned whether Kim would ever give up all nuclear weapons, which he sees as essential to his countryâ€™s defense. They also questioned statements by Trumpâ€™s team that the United States will not reduce economic sanctions until North Korea completely and verifiably gives up it weapons.
â€œThis â€˜allÂ before anythingâ€™ sequentialism would effectively eliminate US-NK diplomatic prospects,â€ tweeted Richard Haass, President Â of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Trump, who is feuding with the leaders ofÂ the G-7 industrialized nations on trade and other issues, left the summit in Quebec early to get to Singapore. He is expected to complete the long flight Sunday evening in Singapore, Sunday morning Washington time.
Trump said the central goal of the meeting is to build a relationship with Kim.
â€œSo far, so good,â€Â Trump said.
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Singapore officials said the United States and North Korea are pleased with the arrangements, and the final touches are in place.
â€œThings will start happening within the next 24 hours,” Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan told reporters.
Before leaving for the summit, Trump took part in a contentious meeting with the leaders of the worldâ€™s largest industrialized economies. Heading into the G-7 meeting, the president had traded Twitter barbs with Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron over trade.
Trump said he brought up allowing Russia back into the G-7 during the meeting, an idea he floated for the first time at the White House as he departed for Canada on Friday. Trump, who received no commitments from the other countries on the issue, said he believes the group would be more effective with Russia at the table.
“I think it would be good for the world,” Trump said. “I think it would be good for the United States.”Â Â
The United States and its allies agreed to expel Russia from the group following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Trump blamed the Obama administration for allowing the annexation to take place.
The president indicated that little progress had been made on a major issue facing summit participants: Trade. Heading into the G-7 summit, other leaders openly criticized Trumpâ€™s decision to impose steep metal tariffs on the other countries gathering for the summit in Quebec.
The G-7 includes the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom.
“They are starting to be committed to a much more fair trade situation for the United States,” Trump said the other leaders at the summit.Â
Trump downplayed the idea that the meeting was contentious, repeatedly describing his relationship with the other leaders as â€œa 10.â€ Trump said he raised the idea of entirely open trade with the other G-7 countries, meaning that all of would lower tariffs and subsidies.
â€œWhat was strong was the language that this cannot go on,â€ he said.
But he also warned the other nations of responding to U.S. tariffs with new trade barriers of their own, which most have threatened to do.Â â€œIf they retaliate, theyâ€™re making a mistake,â€ Trump said. â€œThe gig is up.â€ Â
Trump, who left the summit in Canada before it wrapped up, arrived late to a breakfast discussion on gender equality Saturday morning. Macron gave Trump a wink as he entered.Â Â
The reason for his delay, unusual for such a highly scripted event, was not clear.Â
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Journalists are stationed at the Quebec City Convention Center on the eve of the G7 summit, June 7, 2018 in Quebec City, Quebec. Leaders of the world’s seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, will be attending the annual meeting. Â
Martin Ouellet-Diotte, AFP/Getty Images
People on street look at the policemen before the start of the G7 Summit in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada on June 7, 2018. Leaders of the US, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, the United Kingdom as well as the European Union will gather in Le Manoir Richelieu in La Malbaie for the two day summit on June 8 and 9. Â
Tannen Maury, EPA-EFE