April 18 (UPI) — U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday he is willing to walk away from planned talks with the North Korean leader if he can’t assure “worldwide” success.
Speaking alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a joint news conference after a series of bilateral meetings at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., the president said he wouldn’t “repeat the mistakes of previous administrations” in negotiating with North Korea.
“We will be doing everything possible to make it a worldwide success,” Trump said. “We have to get it together. We have to end nuclear weapons, ideally in all parts of the world.”
Trump also said he is willing to walk away from discussions with North Korea if their negotiations fail to meet his expectations.
“If we don’t think it’s going to be successful, we won’t have it,” he said. “If the meeting when I’m there isn’t fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting.”
Abe said North Korea shouldn’t be rewarded for engaging in dialogue with the United States and should face “maximum pressure” to eliminate its nuclear weapons program.
He added Japan could normalize relations with North Korea if Pyongyang “takes the right path” toward the goal of denuclearization.
“For that to happen, a comprehensive resolution of multiple concerns, including abduction and nuclear missiles, will be the fundamental pre-condition to the upcoming historic U.S.-North Korea summit. We strongly hope for a breakthrough in the situation,” Abe said.
Trump said he plans to discuss the abduction of 12 Japanese citizens by North Korea during his planned summit with Kim, saying Abe demonstrated a high “level of enthusiasm” about their release when they ate dinner together Tuesday.
“Abduction is a very important issue for me because it’s very important for your prime minister,” Trump said. “I said to him then and there when we were at the table we will work on that issue. We will try to bring those folks home.”
He also said the United States is negotiating with North Korea to secure the return of three Americans being held there.
In regards to trade, Trump said he is interested in reaching a bilateral deal with Japan, while Abe said he believes having the United States rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be best for both countries.
Trump also said he would consider exempting Japan from 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum if the two sides are able to reach a bilateral deal.
“I don’t want to go back into TPP, but if they offered us a deal that I can’t refuse on behalf of the United States I would do it,” Trump said. “But I like bilateral better, I think it’s better for our country, I think it’s better for our workers.”