Remarks by President Trump and President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea Before Bilateral Meeting
Issued on:April 11,2019
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. It's a great honor to have President Moon of South Korea with us and a very, very great privilege to have Mrs. Kim.Thank you very much. Very much. We hope you enjoy your stay.
We are discussing many, many important things, including, obviously, North Korea, the relationships with North Korea. I had, in many respects, a very good meeting. We did not fulfill what we wanted to, but in many ways, we — certain things were agreed to.
My relationship is very good with, as you know, Chairman Kim. And I think that it will go on that way. We’ll see. We’ll probably know. But we’ll be discussing that. We’ll be discussing trade, military, military purchases. South Korea buys a great deal of equipment from us, especially military equipment.
Please, go ahead.
We’ve just recently completed a new and very, very large trade deal with South Korea, and it’s just now going into effect. And it will very much increase trade both ways between our two countries. It’s a very important transaction and something we’ve been working on for quite a while. I know that, for years, they’ve been working on trying to redo it. And we have a new deal and it’s been, I think, very, very good for both our countries. Big difference.
President Moon and South Korea have agreed to purchase a tremendous amount of our military equipment, from jet fighters to missiles, to lots of other things. And we make the finest equipment in the world by far, and we appreciate the purchase. It’s a very large purchase. And we always appreciate that.
I think I can say that our relationship has never been better. Our relationship is, on a personal basis, very, very close. Our First Ladies, likewise — extremely close. And I think that that will continue to for a long time into the future — forever.
So we’ll be having individual meetings later on and all throughout the day with different people from different departments and representatives. The President and myself will be meeting right now in the Oval Office. Then we’ll meet with our groups in the Cabinet Room, as you know. And I think it’ll be very productive. It’s going to be a very productive day.
I just do want to tell you that great progress has been made and a great relationship has been made in North Korea too. Kim Jong Un has been, really, somebody that I’ve gotten to know very well and respect, and hopefully — and I really believe that, over a period of time, a lot of tremendous things will happen.
I think North Korea has a tremendous potential, and I believe that President Moon agrees with that. And we will be discussing that and even potential meetings, further meetings, with North Korea and Kim Jong Un.
So I want to extend my warmest wishes to the people of South Korea, and I think indirectly I can truly say I want to extend my warmest wishes to Kim Jong Un and the people of North Korea. I think the relationship has become far different and far better than it was when I first took office or at the end, certainly, of the Obama administration.
PRESIDENT MOON: (As interpreted.) Mr. President, I would like to thank you for inviting our couple to the White House and also warmly welcoming us. In particular, last night at the Blue House, I saw the flowers — the beautiful flowers that you had sent — with a personally signed card. I was really moved by your meticulous care, and especially my wife was moved.
In particular, I have two accounts on which I would like to express my gratitude to the United States. First, recently, there was a big forest fire in Korea, in the province of Gangwon. At the time, the USFK supported us through the provision of many helicopters, and this really helped us put out the fire. And lots of Korean people were very grateful for this.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you.
PRESIDENT MOON: (As interpreted.) And today is a meaningful day for all the Korean people because it marks the centenary anniversary of the establishment of the provisional government of Korea. And I heard that both at the Senate and at the House, they introduced a resolution celebrating this momentous day. So I would like to thank you for that also.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you.
PRESIDENT MOON: (As interpreted.) And after you had met Chairman Kim in Singapore on June 12th, last year, we have witnessed a dramatic turnaround regarding the political situation on the Korean Peninsula. Previously, because of the repeated nuclear and missile test from North Korea, we saw that the military tension at the time had been at its greatest, and we were in a very precarious situation.
However, since you met Chairman Kim and you initiated personal diplomacy with him, we saw the dramatic, significant reduction of military tension on the Korean Peninsula, and now peace has prevailed.
And also, in terms of North Korean nuclear problem, all Korean people have now — now we believe that you will be able to solve this problem through a dialogue. So I have to say that this dramatic turnaround that we have witnessed is solely down to your strong leadership.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much.
PRESIDENT MOON: (As interpreted.) Well, in this sense, I believe that the Hanoi Summit is not actually — was not a source of disappointment, but it is actually the part of a bigger process that will lead us to a bigger agreement.
So the important task that I face right now is to maintain the momentum of dialogue and also express the positive outlook, regarding the third U.S.-North Korea Summit, to the international community that this will be held in the near future.
So, in this regard, I’d like to express my high regard for how you have continued to express your trust towards Chairman Kim. And also, you have made sure that North Korea does not deviate from the dialogue track. I would like to express my gratitude for this.
And let me reiterate that the Republic of Korea is absolutely on the same page when it comes to the end state of the complete denuclearization of North Korea. And I can reassure you that we will remain in such great collaboration with the United States. There will be no daylight until we achieve our ultimate goal.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. I have to go just one step further and I want to thank China, who’s really helped us a lot at the border. I also want to thank Russia because they have helped us, and they’ve helped us quite a bit more than people think, at the border. So both China and Russia have really been quite good. That doesn’t mean they can’t get better, but they’ve been quite good at the border. And I just want to thank both of those countries.
As we’ve said, a lot of progress has been made. We will have further dialogue and I look forward to it. My relationship with Kim Jong Un has been a very strong relationship. I’ve had some very strong relationships with others, but I have a very, very good relationship with Kim Jong Un, and I think you see that.
And we’ll see what happens. Hopefully, it will end up in a great solution for everybody, and ultimately a great solution for the world. Because it is about the world. It’s more than just this area. It’s about the world. And, frankly, the world is watching.
I want to thank you for your leadership. Your leadership has been outstanding. And I look forward to talking about other things also, and in particular, all of that equipment that you’re buying. We like that in the United States. We like that you buy our great equipment. So again, thank you very much. And thank you for your leadership.