[The following is the gist of the Japan-U.S. press conference held after summit talks on June 7 in Washington, D.C.]
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: I would like to pay my deep respect to the outstanding leadership of President Trump as he made this decision (to hold a U.S.-DPRK summit), something that no past presidents were ever able to accomplish.
(At the Japan-U.S. summit) we had an in-depth exchange of views on what we should do for the U.S.-North Korea summit as well as for the peace and stability of Northeast Asia after the summit. I am not able to talk about the details of what we discussed, but one thing I can say is that Japan and the United States are always together. I strongly hope that this summit will be a success.
President Donald Trump: The upcoming summit is set to lead to a bright future for North Korea. It means a bright future for the world, as well. Denuclearization would usher in a new era of prosperity, security, and peace for both North and South Koreans. I am prepared to walk away from the negotiations. I hope it won’t be necessary to walk away, though. I believe that Chairman Kim Jong Un (of the Workers’ Party of Korea) is trying to do something great for his people, for his family, and for himself.
If the negotiations are a success, it is possible that I will invite Chairman Kim to the United States. (If I do invite him) I’ll probably invite him to the White House. I don’t think things will be settled in one meeting. I think it will take longer than that. There may be a signing of an agreement (to end the Korean War). Normalizing relations is something that I would hope to do when everything is complete. Japan and South Korea will be helping North Korea economically.
(The letter from Kim Jong Un) was really a very warm letter, a very nice letter. I appreciate it very much. Perhaps I can get approval to release it. It said that he hopes the summit will produce wonderful outcomes. I am confident that we’re going to have great success or pretty good success (at the U.S.-DPRK summit).
Pressure on North Korea
Prime Minister Abe: There has been absolutely no change to the policy to implement the United Nations Security Council resolutions against North Korea. President Trump has stated that the sanctions will not be lifted until North Korea takes action. Japan is in full agreement with this; Japan and the United States are perfectly aligned on this.
President Trump: “Maximum pressure” is absolutely in effect, but we don’t use the term anymore because we’re going into friendly negotiations. If I use the term again [after the negotiations], it means they did not go well.
The United States has not lifted the sanctions (against North Korea). We have a list of over 300 large-scale sanctions to put on North Korea, but I’ve decided to hold that until we can make a deal, because I really believe there’s a potential to make a deal.
Abduction of Japanese nationals
Prime Minister Abe: It is the earnest desire of the Japanese people for all abductees to return home. To achieve this quickly, I of course want to have direct consultations with North Korea and to speak [with Chairman Kim]. I am committed to use every means possible. Based on the Japan-North Korea Pyongyang Declaration, Japan is prepared to settle the unfortunate past, to normalize our diplomatic relations, and to provide economic cooperation.
I would like to hold Japan-DPRK consultations to promote the resolution of the abductions issue. I am resolved to solve this issue with Chairman Kim in the end. If we are to have a Japan-DPRK summit meeting, it is truly critical that the U.S.-DPRK summit lead to the resolution of the North Korea nuclear, missile, and abductions issues.
President Trump: I know the issue (of abductees) is of great importance to Prime Minister Abe. I will follow his wishes. I will absolutely, absolutely raise the issue with North Korea.
President Trump: Prime Minister Abe and I will work to improve trade relations between the United States and Japan. The United States seeks bilateral negotiations with Japan. We’re working hard to reduce our trade imbalance. The Prime Minister was telling me earlier (at our bilateral summit) that they will buy billions of dollars of additional products.