North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will start denuclearizing “immediately,” President Trump Donald said in his first sit-down interview following their historic summit in Singapore.
Trump said he’s confident – for now – that Kim will be true to his word because the two men developed a rapport during their meeting.
“I think he trusts me, and I trust him,” Trump told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s Good Morning America. Trump said he believes his “very good relationship” with Kim brought them to this moment – and added that Kim told him that only Trump could have gotten him to the negotiating table.
Both leaders signed a document pledging to work toward “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” on Tuesday.
“They’re going to get rid of their nuclear weapons,” Trump said. “I think they want to do it relatively quickly. Now, we’re going to see. I mean, they’re going to start working on it immediately.”
Trump said he and Kim also negotiated certain points after signing the document, including agreeing that North Korea will get rid of certain ballistic missile sites, among “various other things.”
Trump said North Korea getting rid of its nuclear weapons did not mean the U.S. would remove its “nuclear umbrella” from South Korea. He also said the topic of pulling U.S. troops out of South Korea did not come up in his meeting with Kim.
Trump also addressed his announcement that the U.S. would end military exercises with South Korea. The President told Stephanopoulos that he had long wanted to end the “war games” because they were expensive. The military exercises, which often involve U.S. military ships and planes, have long been a point of contention with the Koreans.
Asked how he is able to trust the North Korean dictator, who has been accused of grave human rights abuses and the execution of political opponents, Trump said, “I’m given what I’m given, okay?”
“Over my lifetime I’ve done a lot of deals with a lot of people, and sometimes the people that you most distrust turn out to be the most honorable ones,” he said. “And the people that you do trust they are not the honorable ones, so we are starting from a very high plane, we’re starting from a very good relationship.”