President Donald Trump said on Monday that the United States has never been so close to getting to geting rid of North Korean nuclear weapons, adding that his planned summit with Kim Jong Un will go ahead.
Addressing the media during a joint news conference at the Rose Garden, with the visiting Nigerian President Muhammudu Buhari, President Trump said, "The United States has never been closer to potentially having something happen with respect to the Korean peninsula that can get rid of the nuclear weapons, can create so many good things, so many positive things, and peace and safety for the world.
President Trump added that he is considering holding his summit with Kim Jong-Un at the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) with South Korea rather than in a third-party country because of the potential to have a great 'celebration'. "There's something that I like about it, because you're actually there -- if things work out, there's a great celebration to be had on the site, not in a third party country. So we are looking at the possibility of doing it in that location," said the President.
The president's announcement came after his aides had focussed for weeks on arranging the much-anticipated meeting outside the Korean peninsula. President Trump also disclosed that Singapore was a leading option, but said that he was intrigued by the idea of holding talks at the DMZ.
Praising Kim for his recent statements on the suspension of nuclear missile tests, President Trump said," Kim Jong Un, who has been very open and very straightforward so far -- I can only say, again, so far. But he's talking about getting rid of the site, which was their big site. He's talking about no research, no launching of ballistic missiles, no nuclear testing. And he has lived up to that for a long period of time, a longer period of time than anybody has seen."
Trump also expressed confidence that the summit will be a success. However, striking a balance between optimism and scepticism regarding the upcoming summit, President Trump said, "If it's not a success, I will respectfully leave. It's very simple".
Meanwhile, Nigerian President Buhari congratulated the leaders of the North and South on their historic summit and applauded them for the positive commitment they have made towards the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. President Buhari also praised Trump for his role in negotiating the peace efforts in the region."President Trump deserves a great deal of credit for his statesmanly role in transforming so dramatically the course of events in that region," he said."
The much-anticipated summit between Trump and Kim Jong-Un is slated to take place in either May or early June.
(With PTI inputs)