PRESS CONFERENCE BY PRESIDENT TRUMP
PRESS CONFERENCE BY PRESIDENT TRUMP
4:15 P.M. SGT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much, everybody. We appreciate it. We're getting ready to go back. We had a tremendous 24 hours. We've had a tremendous three months, actually, because this has been going on for quite a while. That was a tape that we gave to Chairman Kim and his people, his representatives. And it captures a lot. It captures what could be done. And that's a great -- a great place. It has the potential to be an incredible place. Between South Korea -- if you think about it -- and China, it's got tremendous potential. And I think he understands that and he wants to do what's right.
It's my honor today to address the people of the world, following this very historic summit with Chairman Kim Jong Un of North Korea. We spent very intensive hours together, and I think most of you have gotten the signed document, or you will very shortly. It's very comprehensive. It's going to happen.
I stand before you as an emissary of the American people to deliver a message of hope and vision, and a message of peace.
Let me begin by thanking our incredible hosts in Singapore, especially Prime Minister Lee, a friend of mine. This is a country of profound grace and beauty, and we send our warmest wishes to every citizen of Singapore, who really made this visit so important and so pleasant, despite all of the work and all of the long hours.
I also want to thank President Moon of South Korea. He's working hard. In fact, I'll be speaking to him right after we're finished. Prime Minister Abe of Japan -- a friend of mine -- just left our country, and he wants what's right for Japan and for the world. He's a good man. And a very special person, President Xi of China, who has really closed up that border -- maybe a little bit less so over the last couple of months, but that's okay. But he really has. And he's a terrific person and a friend of mine, and really a great leader of his people. I want to thank them for their efforts to help us get to this very historic day.
Most importantly, I want to thank Chairman Kim for taking the first bold step toward a bright new future for his people. Our unprecedented meeting -- the first between an American President and a leader of North Korea -- proves that real change is indeed possible.
My meeting with Chairman Kim was honest, direct, and productive. We got to know each other well in a very confined period of time, under very strong, strong circumstance. We're prepared to start a new history and we're ready to write a new chapter between our nations.
Nearly 70 years ago -- think of that; 70 years ago -- an extremely bloody conflict ravaged the Korean Peninsula. Countless people died in the conflict, including tens of thousands of brave Americans. Yet, while the armistice was agreed to, the war never ended. To this day, never ended. But now we can all have hope that it will soon end. And it will. It will soon end.
The past does not have to define the future. Yesterday’s conflict does not have to be tomorrow’s war. And as history has proven over and over again, adversaries can indeed become friends. We can honor the sacrifice of our forefathers by replacing the horrors of battle with the blessings of peace. And that's what we're doing and that's what we have done.
There is no limit to what North Korea can achieve when it gives up its nuclear weapons and embraces commerce and engagement with the rest of the world -- that really wants to engage. Chairman Kim has before him an opportunity like no other: to be remembered as the leader who ushered in a glorious new era of security and prosperity for his people.
Chairman Kim and I just signed a joint statement in which he reaffirmed his "unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” We also agreed to vigorous negotiations to implement the agreement as soon as possible. And he wants to do that. This isn’t the past. This isn’t another administration that never got it started and therefore never got it done.
Chairman Kim has told me that North Korea is already destroying a major missile engine testing site. That’s not in your signed document; we agreed to that after the agreement was signed. That’s a big thing -- for the missiles that they were testing, the site is going to be destroyed very soon.
Today is the beginning of an arduous process. Our eyes are wide open, but peace is always worth the effort, especially in this case. This should have been done years ago. This should have been resolved a long time ago, but we’re resolving it now.
Chairman Kim has the chance to seize an incredible future for his people. Anyone can make war, but only the most courageous can make peace.
The current state of affairs cannot endure forever. The people of Korea -- North and South -- are profoundly talented, industrious, and gifted. These are truly gifted people. They share the same heritage, language, customs, culture, and destiny. But to realize their amazing destiny, to reunite their national family, the menace of nuclear weapons will now be removed.
In the meantime, the sanctions will remain in effect. We dream of a future where all Koreans can live together in harmony, where families are reunited and hopes are reborn, and where the light of peace chases away the darkness of war. This bright future is within -- and this is what’s happening. It is right there. It’s within our reach. It’s going to be there. It’s going to happen. People thought this could never take place. It is now taking place. It’s a very great day. It’s a very great moment in the history of the world.
And Chairman Kim is on his way back to North Korea. And I know for a fact, as soon as he arrives, he’s going to start a process that’s going to make a lot of people very happy and very safe.
So it’s an honor to be with everybody today. The media -- this is a big gathering of media, I will say. It makes me feel very uncomfortable. (Laughter.) But it is what it is. People understand that this is something very important to all of us, including yourselves and your families.
So thank you very much for being here. We’ll take some questions. Wow. That’s a lot of questions. Go ahead. Sure, go ahead. NBC.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Two questions for you, if you don’t mind. First, the man you met today, Kim Jong Un, as you know, has killed family members, has starved his own people, is responsible for the death of Otto Warmbier. Why are you so comfortable calling him “very talented”?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, he is very talented. Anybody that takes over a situation like he did, at 26 years of age, and is able to run it, and run it tough -- I don’t say he was nice or I don’t say anything about it -- he ran it. Very few people, at that age -- you can take one out of ten thousand, probably, couldn’t do it.
Otto Warmbier is a very special person, and he will be for a long time, in my life. His parents are good friends of mine. I think, without Otto, this would not have happened. Something happened, from that day. It was a terrible thing. It was brutal. But a lot of people started to focus on what was going on, including North Korea.
I really think that Otto is someone who did not die in vain. I told this to his parents. Special young man. And I have to say, special parents, special people. Otto did not die in vain. He had a lot to do with us being here today. Okay? Thank you very much.
Q Mr. President, that second question for you, sir, was on the security -- the second question, sir --
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead.
Q -- on the security assurances you talked about in your statement. Can you be specific about what assurances you are willing to give to Kim Jong Un? Does that include reducing military capabilities?
THE PRESIDENT: No.
Q And just to follow up on your answer --
THE PRESIDENT: No, we’re not reducing anything. We’re not reducing. At some point, I have to be honest -- and I used to say this during my campaign, as you know, probably, better than most -- I want to get our soldiers out. I want to bring our soldiers back home. We have, right now, 32,000 soldiers in South Korea, and I’d like to be able to bring them back home. But that’s not part of the equation right now. At some point, I hope it will be, but not right now.
We will be stopping the war games, which will save us a tremendous amount of money, unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should. But we’ll be saving a tremendous amount of money. Plus, I think it’s very provocative.
Yes, John. Yes, John, go ahead. Oh, go ahead. I’m sorry, I thought you were John Roberts. I looked at you, you just like --
Q It’s all right.
THE PRESIDENT: Much better, right?
Q Frequently -- we’re frequently confused, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q Mr. President, this joint statement does not talk about verifiable or irreversible denuclearization.
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah.
Q Was that a concession on the part of the United States?
THE PRESIDENT: No, not at all. Because if you look at it, I mean, it said we are going to -- let’s see here -- it will be gone. I don’t think you can be anymore plain than what we’re asking -- “issues related to the establishment of the new U.S. DPRK relations” -- the building. We talk about the guarantees, and we talk about “unwavering commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” This is the document that we just signed.
Q Did you discuss with Chairman Kim methods to verify, either with the United States or international organizations, that very process? And do you have a timetable --
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we did. Yes, we did. And we’ll be verifying.
Q Can you give that to us?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, we’ll be verifying. It will be verified.
Q How is that going to be achieved, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, it’s going to be achieved by having a lot of people there, and as we develop a certain trust. And we think we have done that. Secretary Pompeo has been really doing a fantastic job -- his staff, everybody. As we do that, we’re going to have a lot of people there, and we’re going to be working with them on a lot of other things. But this is complete denuclearization of North Korea, and it will be verified.
Q Will those people be Americans or international --
THE PRESIDENT: Uh, combinations of both. Combinations of both. And we have talked about it, yes.
Yeah, go ahead. Be nice. Be respectful.
Q I’ll be very respectful, sir. What did Kim Jong Un say to you to give you the confidence that, for once in the history of North Korea, they are not cheating the system, and gaming the world, and gaming the people who will have to go in and make sure that they’re actually giving up their nuclear arsenal? What did he say to you?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, I mean, very fair question. He actually mentioned the fact that they proceeded down a path in the past, and, ultimately, as you know, nothing got done. In one case, they took billions of dollars -- during the Clinton regime -- took billions of dollars and nothing happened. That was a terrible thing, and he actually brought it up to me.
And he said we have never gone this far. I don’t think they’ve ever had the confidence, frankly, in a President that they have right now for getting things done and having the ability to get things done. And he was very firm in the fact that he wants to do this. I think he might want to do this as much or even more than me because they see a very bright future for North Korea.
So you never know. Right? We never know. But I’ll tell you what, we signed a very comprehensive document today, and I think most of you have been given that document. But we signed a very, very comprehensive document, and I believe he’s going to live up to that document. In fact, when he lands -- which is going to be shortly -- I think that he will start that process right away.
Q Do you trust him, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT: I do. I do. I can only say that I know him for -- really well, it’s been very rhetorical, as you know. I think, without the rhetoric, it wouldn’t have happened. I think without other things going along -- I think the establishment of a new team was very important. We have a great team. But I do, I think he wants to get it done. I really feel that very strongly.
Oh, there’s John. I think -- you know, you two guys look alike when the light is right on the -- the hair is very similar. Let me see, who has better hair? He’s got pretty good hair, John, I hate to --
Q It’s the angelic glow of the backlighting, Mr. President, that makes us look so similar. Of course, the denuclearization -- nuclear weapons and biological weapons and whatnot -- is one problem in North Korea. Another huge problem is the horrible record that they have on human rights. Was that discussed at all?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q Is that something that you will tackle in the future?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, it was discussed. It will be discussed more in the future -- human rights. What was also discussed in great detail, John, was that fact that, you know, we have -- and I must have had just countless calls and letters and tweets, anything you can do -- they want the remains of their sons back. They want the remains of their fathers, and mothers, and all of the people that got caught into that really brutal war, which took place, to a large extent, in North Korea. And I asked for it today, and we got it. That was a very last minute. The remains will be coming back. They’re going to start that process immediately.
But so many people, even during the campaign, they’d say, “Is there any way you can work with North Korea to get the remains of my son back or my father back?” So many people asked me this question. And, you know, I said, “Look, we don’t get along too well with that particular group of people.” But now we do. And he agreed to that so quickly and so nice -- it was really a very nice thing, and he understands it. He understands it.
So for the thousands and thousands -- I guess way over 6,000 that we know of, in terms of the remains, they’ll be brought back.
Q The POW-MIA issue clearly is a very important one for thousands of Americans.
THE PRESIDENT: Especially to a lot of people that are --
Q But what do you, President Trump, expect Kim Jong Un to do about the human rights record regarding the North Korean people?
THE PRESIDENT: Right. It was discussed. It was discussed relatively briefly compared to denuclearization. Well, obviously, that’s where we started and where we ended. But they will be doing things, and I think he wants to do things. I think he wants to -- you’d be very surprised. Very smart. Very good negotiator. Wants to do the right thing.
You know, he brought up the fact that, in the past, they took dialogue far -- they never went -- they never were like we are. There’s never been anything like what’s taken place now. But they went down the line. Billions of dollars were given, and you know, the following day the nuclear program continued. But this is a much different time, and this is a much different President, in all fairness. This is very important to me. This is one of the -- perhaps, one of the reasons that I -- one, I campaigned on this issue, as you know very well, John.
Okay. Whoever those people are. I cannot see you with all the lights, but you don’t look like either of the two. Yeah, go ahead. Sure. Go ahead.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. And first of all, congratulations.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
Q Can you touch on the issue of a peace treaty? And also, will you travel to Pyongyang anytime soon?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, at a certain time, I will. I said that will be a day that I look very much forward to, at the appropriate time. And I also will be inviting Chairman Kim, at the appropriate time, to the White House. I think it’s really going to be something that will be very important. And he has accepted. I said, at the appropriate time. We want to go a little bit further down the road.
But what we signed today was a lot of things included. And then you have things that weren’t included that we got after the deal was signed. I’ve done that before in my life. We didn’t put it in the agreement because we didn’t have time. And I think most of you have been handed out the agreement or soon will. But I --
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, you have not? Okay. Well, if you could have those agreements passed out. We just finished them, just a little while ago. But if you could have the agreements passed out, we’ll -- you’ll see what we’re talking about.
Yes, sir. Go ahead.
Q I will second the congratulations, President.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
Q What part did Japan play? And did the abduction issue come up?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q And also, the fate of the Christians?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q And the follow-up question is when will you be doing an interview with Japanese TV? Fifty-thousand American troops are in Japan. Congratulations, again.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s true. Fifty-thousand great troops. That’s true. Yeah, it did -- abduction. Absolutely. This is Prime Minister Abe’s -- one of his, certainly -- other than the whole denuking subject -- certainly his, I would say, his main point. And I brought it up. Absolutely. And they’re going to be working on that. It will be -- we didn’t put it down in the document, but it will be worked on.
THE PRESIDENT: Christians, yes. We are -- brought it up very strongly. You know, Franklin Graham spent -- spent and spends a tremendous amount of time in North Korea. He’s got it very close to his heart. It did come up, and things will be happening. Okay? Thank you. Great question.
Yes, Jon. Go ahead.
Q Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Jon.
Q Returning to the question of human rights, you spoke very powerfully on the issue during your State of the Union Address. You showed that -- you had the defector in the First Lady’s box with the crutches, who escaped. And you, at that point, said that North Korea has more brutally oppressed its people than any other regime on Earth. Do you still believe that is the case having sat down with Kim Jong Un? And does he need to change that?
THE PRESIDENT: Right. Jon, I believe it’s a rough situation over there. There’s no question about it. And we did discuss it today pretty strongly. I mean, knowing what the main purpose of what we were doing is: denuking. But discussed it at pretty good length. We’ll be doing something on it. It’s rough. It’s rough in a lot of places, by the way. Not just there. But it’s rough, and we will continue that. And I think, ultimately, we’ll agree to something. But it was discussed at length outside of the nuclear situation, one of the primary topics.
Q But do you think that needs to change to bring on this glorious new era you’ve talked about? Are they going to have to --
THE PRESIDENT: I think it will change. Yeah. I think it probably has to, but I think it will. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Steve. That’s you, Steve? Right there.
Q Yes, sir. Thank you. What timetable do you envision for their denuclearization? And in the meantime, are you thinking about easing any sanctions?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you know, scientifically, I’ve been watching and reading a lot about this, and it does take a long time to pull off complete denuclearization. It takes a long time. Scientifically, you have to wait certain periods of time, and a lot of things happen. But…
Having sat down with Kim Jong Un. And does he have to change that?
THE PRESIDENT: Jon, I believe it's a rough situation over there. There's no question about it. And we did discuss it today pretty strongly. I mean, knowing what -- the main purpose of what we were doing is: denuking. But discussed at pretty good length. We'll be doing something on it. It's rough. It's rough in a lot of places, by the way -- not just there. But it's rough. And we will continue that, and I think, ultimately, we'll agree to something. But it was discussed at length. Outside of -- outside of the nuclear situation, one of the primary topics.
Q But do you think that needs to change to bring on this glorious new era you've talked about? Are they going to have to --
THE PRESIDENT: I think it will change, yeah. I think it probably has to. But I think it will. Yeah.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
Steve? That's you, Steve? Right there.
Q Yes, sir. Thank you. What timetable do you envision for their denuclearization? And in the meantime, are you thinking about easing any sanctions?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you know, scientifically, I've been watching and reading a lot about this, and it does take a long time to pull off complete denuclearization. It takes a long time. Scientifically, you have to wait certain periods of time, and a lot of things happen. But despite that, once you start the process, it means it's pretty much over; you can't use them. That's the good news. And that's going to start very -- very soon. I believe that's going to start very soon. We will do it as fast as it can mechanically and physically be done, Steve.
Q And the sanctions?
THE PRESIDENT: The sanctions will come off when we are sure that the nukes are no longer a factor. Sanctions played a big role, but they'll come off at that point. I hope it's going to be soon, but they'll come off. As you know, and as I've said, the sanctions right now remain. But at a certain point, I actually look forward to taking them off. And they'll come off when we know we’re down the road -- where it's not going to happen, nothing is going to happen. Okay?
Yes, go ahead. Please.
Q Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
Q Congratulations on this historic summit.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Congratulations to everybody, by the way. Congratulations to everybody.
Q You signed a document with Kim Jong Un. It's essentially a piece of paper. Yesterday, we had a briefing from the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He said the following: "Many Presidents previously have signed off on pieces of paper only to find that the North Koreans either didn’t promise what we thought they had, or actually reneged on those promises." What makes this time different, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you have a different administration. You have a different President. You have a different Secretary of State. You have people that are -- you know, it's very important to them. And we get it done. The other groups, maybe it wasn’t a priority. I don’t think they could have done it if it was a priority, frankly. I don’t think they honestly could have done it even if it was a priority.
And it would have been easier back then. It would have been -- for me, it would have been much easier if this were 10 years ago or 5 years ago. And I'm not just blaming President Obama. I mean, this goes back -- for 25 years, this should have happened. I was given a very tough hand. I was given this, I was given the Iran deal, and plenty of other problems.
But we are -- we're doing really well. And the Iran deal, I have to be honest, I did it because nuclear is always number one to me. Nuclear is number one.
But on the Iran deal, I think Iran is a different country now than it was three or four months ago. I don’t think they're looking so much to the Mediterranean. I don’t think they're looking so much at Syria, like they were, with total confidence. I don’t think they're so confident right now.
But I hope -- with that being said, I hope that, at the appropriate time, after these sanctions kick in -- and they are brutal, what we've put on Iran -- I hope that they're going to come back and negotiate a real deal, because I'd love to be able to do that. But right now, it's too soon for that.
Q Mr. President, you also didn’t talk about establishing diplomatic relations, exchanging ambassadors. How long before that happens?
THE PRESIDENT: Good question. Hopefully soon. But we'll have to get things moving first. Very -- a little bit early for that. We have to get things moving.
Yes, go ahead. Hi.
Q Can you clarify, when you said you were stopping "war games," so you are stopping the military exercises with South Korea?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, we've done exercises for a long period of time, working with South Korea. And we call them “war games,” and I call them “war games.” And they're tremendously expensive. The amount of money that we spend on that is incredible. And South Korea contributes, but not 100 percent, which is certainly a subject that we have to talk to them about also. And that has to do with the military expense and also the trade.
So we're doing that. We actually have a new deal with South Korea, in terms of the trade deal, but we have to talk to them. We have to talk to many countries about treating us fairly.
But the war games are very expensive. We pay for a big majority of them. We fly in bombers from Guam. I said -- when I first started, I said, "Where do the bombers come from?" "Guam. Nearby." I said, "Oh, great, nearby. Where's nearby?" "Six and a half hours." Six and a half hours -- that's a long time for these big massive planes to be flying to South Korea to practice and then drop bombs all over the place, and then go back to Guam. I know a lot about airplanes; it's very expensive. And I didn’t like it.
And what I did say is -- and I think it's very provocative, I have to tell you, Jennifer, it's a very provocative situation when I see that, and you have a country right next door. So under the circumstances that we are negotiating a very comprehensive, complete deal, I think it's inappropriate to be having war games.
So, number one, we save money -- a lot. And number two, it really is something that I think they very much appreciate it.
Q Does North Korea give you something in return, though?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’ve gotten -- you know, I’ve heard that. I mean, some of the people that -- I don’t know, maybe they really mean it. I don’t always want to go against the press because I just don’t -- especially not today, this is too important. But I noticed that some of the people were saying that the President has agreed to meet, he has given up so much. I gave up nothing. I’m here. I haven’t slept in 25 hours, but I thought it was appropriate to do -- because we have been negotiating for literally around the clock with them, and with us, and with John, and with Mike, and a whole team of very talented people.
But we haven’t given up anything, other than -- you’re right, I agreed to meet. And I think the meeting was every bit as good for the United States as it was for North Korea. But I just wrote down some of the things we got. And they -- you know, they -- sure, they got a meeting. But only a person that dislikes Donald Trump would say that I’ve agreed to make a big commitment.
Sure, I’ve agreed to take a period of time and come here and meet, and that’s good. But I think it’s great for us, as a country, and I think it’s good for them.
But what did they do to justify this meeting? Secured commitment for complete denuclearization; that’s the big thing. They secured the release of three American hostages. They already gave them to us two months ago. These people are now living happily back in their homes, with their families. And it was pretty rough for them, to put it mildly.
Secure the commitment to recover the remains, including -- these are of fallen heroes. And they’re giving a commitment, they’re starting it immediately, to recover their remains. And I just went through how many people asked me about it. I was amazed, actually. So many people would ask me, “Is it possible? Is it possible?” At that time we had no relationship to Chairman Kim or to anybody else in North Korea. You know, it was a very closed society. So we’re getting the remains back.
Secured the halt of all missile and nuclear tests for -- how long has it been? Seven months? You haven’t had a missile go up. For seven months, you haven’t had a nuclear test; you haven’t had a nuclear explosion. I remember a nuclear event took place -- 8.8 in the Richter scale. And they announced -- I heard it on the radio -- they announced that a massive -- you know, an earthquake took place somewhere in Asia. And then they said it was in North Korea. And then they found out it was a nuclear test. I said, “I never heard of a Richter scale in the high 8s.”
And if you look, there has been no missile launches. They’ve blown up their missile area. That’s going to take place. That has not been written into the contract. We’re going to give you the exact details on that. But they secured a halt of all missiles and of all nuclear tests. They secured the closure of their single primary nuclear test site. All three of them -- they’re in an area that’s common around each other -- they secured the closure.
They secured the commitment to destroy the missile engine testing site. That was not in your agreement. I got that after we signed the agreement. I said, “Do me a favor. You’ve got this missile engine testing site. We know where it is because of the heat.” It’s incredible the equipment we have, to be honest with you. I said, “Can you close it up?” He’s going to close it up.
We maintained the ability to continue to apply sanctions. So we’re applying sanctions. Now I had 300 sanctions that I was getting ready to put on last week. And I said, you know, I can’t really put on sanctions when I’m meeting with -- I thought it would be very disrespectful. Three hundred very big ones, powerful ones. And I said it would be disrespectful.
So, Jennifer, when you look at all of those things that we got -- and when we got our hostages back, I didn’t pay $1.8 billion in cash like the hostages that came back from Iran, which was a disgraceful situation, what took place.
So we’ve gotten a lot. So when I hear somebody in the media say that President Trump has agreed to meet -- like, it’s not a big deal to meet. I think we should meet on a lot of different topics, not just this one. And I really believe a lot of great things can happen.
Yes. Go ahead, please.
Q Sir, you just listed off a lot of things that you say you got in this meeting. It wasn’t too long ago, though, that you said you defined the success of this meeting by North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, that’s what they’re doing.
Q Well, can you talk about how --
THE PRESIDENT: Sure. That’s what they’re doing. I mean, I don’t think the --
Q -- how you pressed Kim Jong Un for complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, I did, honestly --
Q And can you why you didn’t secure those details in this agreement?
THE PRESIDENT: Because there was no time. I’m here one day. We’re together for many hours intensively, but the process is now going to take place. And I would be surprised, Mike, if they haven’t even started already. They have started; they blew up their sites. They blew up their testing site.
But I will say, he knew, prior to coming -- you know, this wasn’t like a surprise. It wasn’t like we’ve never discussed it. We discussed it. Mike discussed it very strongly with his counterpart in North Korea. They knew that this was -- let’s say they didn’t agree to that I couldn’t sign any agreement. There was no agreement that could have been signed. So they understood that.
And it wasn’t a big point today because, really, this had been taken care of, more than any other thing. Because it was all about this. This has been taken care of before we got here. So when we brought that up today, you see the language. It’s very strong. It’s in the document.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Could you talk about the military consequences for North Korea if they don’t follow through on the commitments that you’re talking about? Could there be military action?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t want to talk. Yeah, I know. That’s a tough thing to talk about because I don’t want to be threatening. I don’t want to be threatening. They understood that. And you’ve seen what was, perhaps, going to happen.
And you know, Seoul has 28 million people. We think we have big cities. You look at New York, where it has 8 million people. We think it’s a big city. Seoul has 28 million people. Think of that. And it’s right next to the border. It’s right next to the DMZ. It’s right there. I mean, if this would have happened, I think -- you know, I’ve heard, oh, a hundred-thousand people. I think you could have lost 20 million people, 30 million people. This is really an honor for me to be doing this because I think, you know, potentially, you could have lost, you know, 30-, 40-, 50 million people. The city of Seoul, one of the biggest cities in the world, is right next to the border.
Q You once spoke about fire and fury. Is that no longer the case?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, at that time we needed, perhaps, fire and fury. Because we could not have allowed that kind of capability from the standpoint of the United States. And certainly, Japan wasn’t going to allow it either. Japan is right next door.
Q One more thing. Mr. President, could you tell us about the video that you showed before this?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah.
Q When did you show that to Kim? What was the goal there?
THE PRESIDENT: Today. Yeah, we had it made up by some -- I hope you liked it. I thought it was good. I thought it was interesting enough to show. One in English and one in Korean. And we had it made up. I showed it to him today. Actually, during the meeting -- toward the end of the meeting. And I think he loved it. They were giving -- we didn’t have a big screen like you have the luxury of having. We didn’t need it because we had it on a cassette and -- an iPad. And they played it. And about eight of their representatives were watching it, and I thought they were fascinated.
But I thought it was well done. I showed it to you because that’s the future. I mean, that could very well be the future. And the other alternative is just not a very good alternative. It’s just not good. But I showed it because I really want him to do something. Now, I don’t think I had to show it because I really believe he wants to -- I think he wants to get it done.
Yes. Go ahead. How’s Staten Island Ferry doing? Okay? He wrote the best story about me with the Staten Island Ferry. And after that, he’s never written a good story.
Q That’s a long time ago, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t know what happened. It’s a long time ago.
Q Mr. President, it’s been a busy week for you on the international stage. You’re leaving this summit here in Singapore having determined that Kim Jong Un is a talented man. You left the G7 Summit a few days ago in Canada having determined that Prime Minister Trudeau is weak and dishonest. What do you say to America’s allies who worry that you might be jeopardizing our long-term alliances and who worry that you might be treating our historic friends as enemies and our historic enemies as friends?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I think it’s a very fair question. I had a very good meeting with the G7. And I left the meeting. And, I’ll be honest, we are being taken advantage of by virtually every one of those countries. Very, very seriously. Now, the United States, because of bad management at the top, because of Presidents that didn’t care about trade or didn’t understand it or whatever reason. For many years, with China being, obviously, the most successful at it, but the European Union is second -- $151 billion we lost. They were represented at the meeting. And we’re being taken advantage of on trade.
Canada does have very big advantages over us in terms of trade deficits. We have a big trade deficit with Canada, I was reading, where, oh, it’s actually a surplus. Not a surplus. It’s either 17, but it could actually be 100. You know, they put out a document. I don’t know if you saw it. They didn’t want me to see it, but we found it. Perhaps they were trying to show the power they have. It’s close to $100 billion a year loss with Canada.
They don’t take our farm products -- many of them. They charge what was 270 percent, but somebody told me the other day that a few months ago they raised it to 295 percent for dairy products. And it’s very unfair to our farmers, and it’s very unfair to the people of our country -- the workers, the farmers, the companies. And we are not able to trade. They have tremendous barriers up. They have tremendous tariffs.
So when I put in a countervailing tariff just to get us up a little bit so the balance isn’t so much -- it’s like this -- they said, “Oh, that’s so terrible.” I said, “What’s terrible?” We have to catch you a little bit. We have to have a little balance. Even if it’s not complete, we have to have a little balance. I say this with many countries.
Anyway, we came -- we finished the meeting. Really, everybody was happy. And I agreed to sign something. I asked for changes; I demanded changes. And those changes were made. In fact, the picture with Angela Merkel, who I get along with very well, where I’m sitting there like this, that picture was we’re waiting for the document because I wanted to see the final document as changed by the changes that I requested.
That was a very friendly -- I know it didn’t look friendly, and I know it was reported like sort of nasty both ways. I was angry at her or she -- actually, we were just talking, the whole group, about something unrelated to everything, very friendly, waiting for the document to come back so I could read it before I leave.
Anyway, I left and it was very friendly. When I got onto the plane, I think that Justin probably didn’t know that Air Force One has about 20 televisions, and I see the television. And he’s giving a news conference about how he will not be pushed around by the United States. And I say, push him around? We just shook hands. It was very friendly.
Look, countries cannot continue to take advantage of us on trade. The number are out. Over the last couple of years, and ov