Trump says Kim has 'one-time shot' at peace, as he leaves for Singapore summit

President Donald Trump struck an optimistic tone Saturday as he left the G7 summit early for his high stakes summit with Kim Jong Un, telling reporters that his North Korean counterpart has an opportunity for “lasting peace” when they meet in Singapore next week.

“It’s a one time shot, and I think it’s going to work out very well,” Trump said in a wide-ranging press conference Saturday. “We’re going in with a very positive spirit.”

Trump gave the comments before departing a contentious G7 conference in Canada, during which he confronted top United States allies over trade and drew scrutiny for calling for Russia to be readmitted to the group of nations — and days before his much-anticipated summit with Kim.

The president on Saturday said that he has a “clear objective” heading into the Singapore summit, but that ‘it’s going to be something that will always be spur of the moment” because Kim has “never been tested.”

“I think that he’s going to surprise on the upside,” Trump said, adding that it “may not work out.”

Asked how he would gauge Kim’s openness to denuclearization, Trump said that he would know “very quickly whether or not something good is going to happen.”

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North Korea official meets Trump in rare visit
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North Korea official meets Trump in rare visit
US President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean Kim Yong Chol (L) outside the White House on June 1, 2018 in Washington,DC after a meeting, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo(C) looks on. - North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's right-hand man met with US President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday to deliver a letter from his leader that could pave the way to a historic nuclear summit. Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling party executive and a veteran regime insider, arrived for his Oval Office encounter accompanied by the senior US officials who have overseen an extraordinary diplomatic opening. (Photo by Saul LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean Kim Yong Chol (L) outside the White House on June 1, 2018 in Washington,DC after a meeting, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo(C) looks on. - North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's right-hand man met with US President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday to deliver a letter from his leader that could pave the way to a historic nuclear summit. Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling party executive and a veteran regime insider, arrived for his Oval Office encounter accompanied by the senior US officials who have overseen an extraordinary diplomatic opening. (Photo by Saul LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump looks at North Korean Kim Yong Chol (L) outside the White House on June 1, 2018 in Washington,DC after a meeting, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo(C) looks on. - North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's right-hand man met with US President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday to deliver a letter from his leader that could pave the way to a historic nuclear summit. Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling party executive and a veteran regime insider, arrived for his Oval Office encounter accompanied by the senior US officials who have overseen an extraordinary diplomatic opening. (Photo by Saul LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump walks with North Korean Kim Yong Chol (L) outside the White House on June 1, 2018 in Washington,DC after a meeting, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo(R) looks on. - North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's right-hand man met with US President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday to deliver a letter from his leader that could pave the way to a historic nuclear summit. Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling party executive and a veteran regime insider, arrived for his Oval Office encounter accompanied by the senior US officials who have overseen an extraordinary diplomatic opening. (Photo by Saul LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling Worker's Party Central Committee, left, and John Kelly, White House chief of staff, walk through the Colonnade of the White House toward the Oval Office in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, June 1, 2018. A top envoy from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived at the White House today to meet with President Donald Trump, the first visit by a key official from the isolated country to Washington in at least 18 years. Photographer: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Bloomberg
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: US President Donald Trump (2-R) walks with Kim Yong Chol (2-L), former North Korean military intelligence chief and one of leader Kim Jong Un's closest aides, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) looks on outside the Oval Office of the White House on June 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. Both Trump and Kim Yong Chol are trying to salvage a recently canceled historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un scheduled for June 12. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: US President Donald Trump (3-L) stands next to Kim Yong Chol (2-L) , former North Korean military intelligence chief and one of leader Kim Jong Un's closest aides, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) looks on outside the Oval Office of the White House on June 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. Both Trump and Kim Yong Chol are trying to salvage a recently canceled historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un scheduled for June 12. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: US President Donald Trump speaks with Kim Yong Chol (L), former North Korean military intelligence chief and one of leader Kim Jong Un's closest aides, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks on outside the Oval Office of the White House on June 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. Both Trump and Kim Yong Chol are trying to salvage a recently canceled historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un scheduled for June 12. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean Kim Yong Chol (L) on the South Lawn of the White House on June 1, 2018 in Washington, DC, after a meeting, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (C) looks on. - US President Donald Trump said Friday his summit with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un is back on for next month, after extraordinary Oval Office talks with a top envoy from Pyongyang. Trump emerged after a more than hour-long Oval Office meeting with Kim Yong Chol -- a general facing US sanctions who is Kim's right-hand man -- saying that the summit will go ahead in Singapore on June 12 as originally planned. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: US President Donald Trump walks out of the Oval Office with Kim Yong Chol, former North Korean military intelligence chief and one of leader Kim Jong Un's closest aides, on June 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. Both Trump and Kim Yong Chol are trying to salvage a recently canceled historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un scheduled for June 12. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: US President Donald Trump stands with Kim Yong Chol, former North Korean military intelligence chief and one of leader Kim Jong Un's closest aides, on the South Lawn of the White House on June 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. Both Trump and Kim Yong Chol are trying to salvage a recently canceled historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un scheduled for June 12. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
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“I think within the first minute I’ll know,” Trump said. “Just my touch. My feel. That’s what I do.”

Trump and Kim spent the bulk of 2017 exchanging personal insults and nuclear threats, but agreed to meet earlier this spring following a strong diplomatic push by South Korea ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

His administration had previously suggested its goal is for Kim to immediately denuclearize, but Trump in recent weeks has appeared to scale back his expectations for the meeting. He’s indicated he may support a phased denuclearization plan on the peninsula and, on Saturday, characterized the upcoming summit as part of a process.

“The minimum would be relationship,” Trump said of his goals for the meeting. “You’d start at least a dialogue. I’d like to accomplish more than that, but at a minimum we’ll have met each other, seen each other. Hopefully we will have liked each other.”

In his press conference Saturday, Trump compared what he described as a lack of action on the part of past U.S. leaders on North Korea with the “bad” trade deals they made with key allies, including Canada and France.

“I don’t blame other leaders for [the trade deals,” Trump said. “I blame our past leaders.”

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A look at the day Trump cancelled the North Korea summit
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A look at the day Trump cancelled the North Korea summit
A man watches a television news screen showing US President Donald Trump (L) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (R), at a railway station in Seoul on May 25, 2018. - US President Donald Trump on May 24 called off his planned June summit with Kim Jong Un, blaming 'open hostility' from the North Korean regime and warning Pyongyang against committing any 'foolish or reckless acts.' (Photo by Jung Yeon-je / AFP) (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
A letter from U.S. President Donald Trump to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un canceling their upcoming planned summit in Singapore is seen in this photo released by the White House in Washington, U.S. May 24, 2018. The White House via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
A commemorative coin released by the White House for a potential 'peace summit,' featuring the names and silhouettes of U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader�Kim�Jung�Un, is displayed for a photograph in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, May 24, 2018. Trump�canceled his planned�summit�with Kim Jong Un�that had been scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, citing 'tremendous anger and open hostility' in recent statements from Pyongyang. Photographer: Yuri Gripas/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A news editor in Washington, DC looks at the 'deal of the day' on the official website of the White House gift shop May 24, 2018 as the commemorative coin featuring US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un goes for USD 19.95 instead of the regular price of USD 24.95. - The price of the coin, struck by the White House Communications Agency ahead of the much anticipated US-North Korea summit meeting, seemed to lose value shortly after Trump called off the June 12, 2018 summit blaming 'tremenduous anger' and 'hostility' from the North Korean regime and warning Pyongyang against committing any 'foolish or reckless acts.' (Photo by Eva HAMBACH / AFP) (Photo credit should read EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - MAY 25: A man reads a newspaper at Seoul railway station on May 25, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea. The U.S. President Donald Trump called off the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that had been scheduled for June 12 in Singapore due to 'tremendous anger and open hostility' in recent statements from Pyongyang. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - MAY 25: People watch a TV report at Seoul railway station on May 25, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea. The U.S. President Donald Trump called off the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that had been scheduled for June 12 in Singapore due to 'tremendous anger and open hostility' in recent statements from Pyongyang. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
A man reads the front page of a newspaper at a railway station in Seoul on May 25, 2018 showing a picture of US President Donald Trump. - US President Donald Trump on May 24 called off his planned June summit with Kim Jong Un, blaming 'open hostility' from the North Korean regime and warning Pyongyang against committing any 'foolish or reckless acts.' (Photo by Jung Yeon-je / AFP) (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
A man watches a television news showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (R) and US President Donald Trump (L), at a railway station in Seoul on May 24, 2018. - North Korea has dismantled its nuclear test site, media invited to attend the ceremony said on May 24, in a carefully choreographed move portrayed by the isolated regime as a goodwill gesture ahead of a potential summit next month with the US. (Photo by Jung Yeon-je / AFP) (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
A commemorative coin released by the White House for a potential 'peace summit,' featuring the names and silhouettes of U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader�Kim�Jung�Un, is arranged photograph taken in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, May 24, 2018. Trump�canceled his planned�summit�with Kim Jong Un�that had been scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, citing 'tremendous anger and open hostility' in recent statements from Pyongyang. Photographer: Yuri Gripas/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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He had spent the days heading into the G7 summit publicly blasting French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over trade, and questioned why Russia would not be present at the meeting.

Trump insisted Saturday that the meeting was not contentious, saying that his relationships with allies remained strong, but continued to say that the U.S. had been “taken advantage of for decades and decades” on trade.

“I congratulate the leaders of other countries for crazily being able to make these trade deals that were so good for their countries and bad for the United States,” Trump said. “But those days are over.”

He also doubled-down on his call for Russia to be at the table with the other seven nations, saying that “something happened a while ago where Russia is no longer in.”

When a reporter noted that the “something” Russia was kicked for was its 2014 invasion of Crimea, he suggested former President Barack Obama was responsible because the annexation occurred while he was in office.

“I may have had a much different attitude,” Trump said.

Trump largely stuck to the script during the press conference Saturday, but did veer into his signature attacks on the media after bristling at questions over the brewing tensions between the U.S. and its allies — including a testy exchange in which he called out a “fake news CNN” reporter.

“The U.S. press is very dishonest,” Trump said. “There are many people in the press who are unbelievably dishonest.”

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