Trump: US, North Korea holding talks at 'very high levels'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE on Tuesday said the U.S. has spoken directly to North Korea ahead of a planned summit meeting between Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong Un. 

Speaking to reporters during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump said the talks were held at “very high levels.”

“We have had direct talks at very high levels, extremely high levels, with North Korea,” the president said. “I really believe there’s a lot of good will. We’ll see what happens, as I always say. Because ultimately it’s the end result that counts.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Trump and Abe are meeting at the president’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla., to get on the same page ahead of the North Korea summit. 

The president pledged to raise the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea, which Abe called his “top priority” in the talks. 

“This reflects your deep understanding for how Japan cares about this abduction issues,” Abe told Trump. “I am very grateful for your commitment.”

The Japanese leader is also seeking assurances his country will be protected in any potential nuclear deal between Washington and Pyongyang. 

Trump upended decades of diplomatic practice by agreeing to a meeting with Kim over his nuclear program.

It is extremely rare for the senior U.S. officials to have direct talks with North Korea, and the two leaders have never met face-to-face. 

The president said the meeting with Kim could take place “probably in early June or before that” but also raised the possibility it will not happen at all if North Korea continues its nuclear aggression.  

The Trump-Kim meeting was arranged with the help of the South Korean government, which is reportedly seeking to broker a peace agreement with the North to end their decades-long war.

Earlier in the day, Trump offered his “blessing” to the two Koreas, which have technically been at war since 1950. The two countries signed an armistice agreement in 1953 but never agreed to end the war. 

If the meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in goes well, it could help set the stage for Trump’s meeting with the reclusive North Korean leader. 

—Updated at 4:52 p.m.