President Donald Trump says he believes that Kim Jong-un wants to denuclearize his country and feels he can trust him.
“I think he trusts me and I trust him,” he said in an interview with ABC News host George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday after his summit with Kim in Singapore.
Trump said that he would have left the summit if Kim had failed to agree to “complete and total denuclearization.”
The president also hosted a press conference for over 60 minutes after the summit to detail his meetings with the North Korean dictator.
Trump admitted it was fully possible that Kim would backtrack on his promise in 6-12 months.
“I think he will do these things,” he said, and added frankly, “I may be wrong. I may stand before you in six months and say, ‘Hey, I was wrong.’”
But Trump seemed optimistic about Kim’s intentions to shut down his nuclear programs, even though he admitted that it would take time.
“I think he will do it. I really believe it,” he said.
Trump opened his press conference celebrating the accomplishment of the historic summit, but said that his administration would keep “our eyes wide open.”
“Chairman Kim has the chance to seize an incredible future for his people,” he said. “Anyone can make war, but only the most courageous can make peace.”
The president repeated that he felt confident about his conversations with Kim Jong-un.
“All I can say is they want to make a deal. That’s what I do. My whole life has been deals. I have done great at it and that’s what I do,” he said. “I know when somebody wants to deal and I know when somebody doesn’t.”
The discussion of trust came after Stephanopoulos asked the president: “What other kinds of security guarantees did you offer?” Trump responded that he did not want to offer specifics, but “He’s going to be happy. His country does love him — his people, you see [ABC makes a mid-sentence edit] the fervor, they have a great fervor.”
Stephanopoulos shot back: “You say his people love him. Just a few months ago, you accused him of starving his people.” He recited Kim’s long list of human rights abuses, then asked, “How do you trust a killer like that?”
“George, I’m given what I’m given,” Trump replied. “I can only tell you from my experience — I met him, I’ve spoken with him, and I’ve met him, and this was, you know, starting very early and it’s been very intense. I think that he really wants to do a great job for North Korea. I think he wants to de-nuke — it’s very important. Without that, there’s nothing to discuss.”