Exclusive: Trump says may need to meet North Korea's Kim more than once


ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE, May 31 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday it may take more than one meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to seal a denuclearization deal and that he would like Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear weapons program as quickly as possible under any agreement.

Trump, in a brief interview with Reuters aboard Air Force One as he flew to Texas for Republican fund raising events, said he was still hoping for a summit with Kim on June 12 in Singapore.

The president emphasized that it may take more than one meeting to reach an agreement.

"I’d like to see it done in one meeting. But oftentimes that’s not the way deals work," Trump said.

SEE ALSO: Trump says North Korean leader is sending him a letter, summit meetings productive

"There’s a very good chance that it won’t be done in one meeting or two meetings or three meetings. But it’ll get done at some point. It may get done really nicely and really intelligently, or it may not get done intelligently. It may have to be the hard way," he said.

The president said he believed Kim wanted a deal.

"But I think it’ll get done in a very smart, organized fashion and I think that Kim Jong Un wants to see it also. And I’m going to be very happy when the day arrives when we can take sanctions off, and have a very good relationship with the entire Korean Peninsula," Trump said.

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Ri Sol Ju with Kim Jong Un in South Korea
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Ri Sol Ju with Kim Jong Un in South Korea
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pose with Kim's wife Ri Sol Ju and Moon's wife Kim Jung-sook at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un greet Kim's wife Ri Sol Ju and Moon's wife Kim Jung-sook at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un applauds with his wife Ri Sol Ju and sister Kim Yo Jong at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un raise a toast with their wives Ri Sol Ju and Kim Jung-sook at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un share a toast with Moon's wife Kim Jung-sook and Kim's wife Ri Sol Ju at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters
South Korean President Moon Jae-in's wife Kim Jung-sook and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's wife Ri Sol Ju interact at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walk with Kim's wife Ri Sol Ju and Moon's wife Kim Jung-sook at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters
South Korean President Moon Jae-in's wife Kim Jung-sook and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's wife Ri Sol Ju interact at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters?
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet Kim's wife Ri Sol Ju and Moon's wife Kim Jung-sook at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol Ju at a dinner with Song Tao, head of the Chinese Communist Party's international liaison department, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on April 18, 2018. KCNA/via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
Kim Jung-sook, South Korea's first lady, right, and Ri Sol Ju, North Korea's first lady, arrive for a banquet during the inter-Korean summit at the Peace House in the village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Paju, South Korea, on Friday, April 27, 2018. North Korean leader�Kim Jong Un�and South Korean President Moon Jae-in�agreed to finally end a seven-decade war this year, and pursue the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Source: Inter-Korean Summit Press Corps/Pool via Bloomberg
Moon Jae-in, South Korea's president, center, speaks as Ri Sol Ju, North Korea's first lady, fourth left, Kim Jong Un, North Korea's leader, fifth left, and Kim Jung-sook, South Korea's first lady, fourth right, look on during a banquet at the inter-Korean summit at the Peace House in the village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Paju, South Korea, on Friday, April 27, 2018. Kim�and Moon�agreed Friday to finally end a seven-decade war this year, and pursue the 'complete denuclearization' of the Korean Peninsula. Source: Inter-Korean Summit Press Corps/Pool via Bloomberg
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (2nd L) and his wife Ri Sol Ju (L) walk with South Korea's President Moon Jae-in (3rd L) and his wife Kim Jung-sook (4th L) before the official dinner at the end of their historic summit at the truce village of Panmunjom on April 27, 2018. - The leaders of the two Koreas held a landmark summit on April 27 after a highly symbolic handshake over the Military Demarcation Line that divides their countries, with the North's Kim Jong Un declaring they were at the 'threshold of a new history'. (Photo by Korea Summit Press Pool / Korea Summit Press Pool / AFP) (Photo credit should read KOREA SUMMIT PRESS POOL/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (2nd L) and his wife Ri Sol Ju (L) toast with South Korea's President Moon Jae-in (R) during the official dinner at the end of their historic summit at the truce village of Panmunjom on April 27, 2018. - The leaders of the two Koreas held a landmark summit on April 27 after a highly symbolic handshake over the Military Demarcation Line that divides their countries, with the North's Kim Jong Un declaring they were at the 'threshold of a new history'. (Photo by Korea Summit Press Pool / Korea Summit Press Pool / AFP) (Photo credit should read KOREA SUMMIT PRESS POOL/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) and his wife Ri Sol Ju (2nd R) are greeted by South Korea's President Moon Jae-in (2nd L) and his wife Kim Jung-sook (R) at the end of their historic summit at the truce village of Panmunjom on April 27, 2018. - The leaders of the two Koreas held a landmark summit on April 27 after a highly symbolic handshake over the Military Demarcation Line that divides their countries, with the North's Kim Jong Un declaring they were at the 'threshold of a new history'. (Photo by Korea Summit Press Pool / Korea Summit Press Pool / AFP) (Photo credit should read KOREA SUMMIT PRESS POOL/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (2nd L) and his wife Ri Sol Ju (L) pose for a photo with South Korea's President Moon Jae-in (2nd R) and his wife Kim Jung-sook (R) at the end of their historic summit at the truce village of Panmunjom on April 27, 2018. - The leaders of the two Koreas held a landmark summit on April 27 after a highly symbolic handshake over the Military Demarcation Line that divides their countries, with the North's Kim Jong Un declaring they were at the 'threshold of a new history'. (Photo by Korea Summit Press Pool / Korea Summit Press Pool / AFP) (Photo credit should read KOREA SUMMIT PRESS POOL/AFP/Getty Images)
Kim Jung-sook, South Korea's first lady, right, speaks with Kim Jong Un, North Korea's leader, left, as Moon Jae-in, South Korea's president, second left, and Ri Sol Ju, North Korea's first lady, second right, look on ahead of a banquet during the inter-Korean summit at the Peace House in the village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Paju, South Korea, on Friday, April 27, 2018. Kim�and Moon�agreed Friday to finally end a seven-decade war this year, and pursue the 'complete denuclearization' of the Korean Peninsula. Source: Inter-Korean Summit Press Corps/Pool via Bloomberg
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U.S.-ally South Korea and North Korea have technically been at war for decades, even though the Korean War's military combat ended in 1953, because a peace agreement was never signed.

The president said he will most likely be visited by North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol on Friday at the White House after the official's meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York.

The North Korean official is carrying a letter to Trump from Kim Jong Un.

"I look forward to seeing the letter and I look forward to June 12 where hopefully we can make progress," Trump said.

Disputes between Washington and Pyongyang led Trump to announce last Thursday he was canceling the meeting with Kim, only to say the following day that it could still go ahead. The days since have seen a flurry of diplomatic efforts to get the summit back on track.

In a letter to Kim last Thursday canceling the summit, Trump accused North Korea of "open hostility," but urged Kim to "call me or write" if he had a change of heart.

In his interview with Reuters, the U.S. president said a nuclear deal with North Korea would have to cover its missile program.

"It means missiles," Trump said.

He said he wanted to see denuclearization occur at a rapid pace.

“I’d like to see a total denuclearization in as quick a period of time as is practicable," he said. "You’re talking about machinery, you’re talking about things that can’t necessarily happen immediately but they can happen in as rapid a fashion as they can happen. That’s what I want to happen."

North Korea has made advances in missile technology in recent years but Trump has sworn not to allow it to develop nuclear missiles that could hit the United States. (Reporting by Steve Holland; Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Bill Trott and Grant McCool)

 

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