President Donald Trump said Friday that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize based on his work to promote peace between North and South Korea.
Trump told reporters Friday during an address on border security in the White House Rose Garden that Abe gave him “a copy of a letter” sent to the committee in charge of giving out the Nobel Prize.
“Prime Minister Abe of Japan gave me the most beautiful copy of a letter that he sent to the people who give out a thing called the Nobel Prize,” Trump said, according to a White House transcript of the address. “He said, ‘I have nominated you, respectfully on behalf of Japan, I am asking them to give you the Nobel Peace Prize.’”
The president said Abe submitted the nomination to the Norwegian committee in charge of awarding the prize because Japan felt “safe” after North Korea stopped launching ballistic missiles.
“He had rocket ships and he had missiles flying over Japan, and they had alarms going off. … Now all of a sudden they feel good, they feel safe. I did that,” Trump said, referring to an incident in 2017 where North Korea launched two long-range ballistic missiles over Hokkaido.
Japan’s Defense Ministry stated in an August 2018 white paper that North Korea’s nuclear testing posed a “grave and imminent” threat to the Japanese people.
Trump said he does not expect to win the prize but thanked the Japanese prime minister anyway.
“But that’s okay,” Trump said. “They gave it to Obama. He didn’t even know what he got it for.”
A Japanese Foreign Ministry official told Bloomberg News the Japanese government was aware of Trump’s comments but did not elaborate.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in suggested in April 2018 that Trump should receive the Nobel Prize for attempting to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.
Trump is slated to meet with North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un February 27-28 in Hanoi, Vietnam.
It would be the second time the North Korean leader and the president have met since their historic summit in Singapore in June 2018 to discuss “complete denuclearization” in North Korea.