Donald Trump on Friday revealed that U.S. and North Korean officials have settled on a time and place for the president’s much-anticipated summit with Kim Jong Un, and appeared optimistic about the potential extraction of three American citizens imprisoned under Kim’s despotic regime.
“The trip is being scheduled. We now have a date. And we have a location. We'll be announcing it soon,” Trump told reporters assembled on the White House South Lawn.
“We're having very substantive talks with North Korea. And a lot of things have already happened with respect to the hostages. And I think you're going to see very good things,” the president added.
Trump on Monday floated on Twitter the idea of holding the summit at a facility inside the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Korean peninsula. And later that day, speaking alongside Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari during a bilateral news conference at the White House, Trump revealed that American intelligence officials were also considering Singapore as a possible host country for the historic negotiations.
Last weekend, Trump claimed his meeting with Kim could take place within the month. "I think we will have a meeting over the next three or four weeks," he said at a rally in Washington, Mich.
Later on Friday, Trump offered more words of hope for the families of the American hostages in North Korea.
“We have a chance to bring in — we have a chance — we're doing very well with the hostages,” the president told reporters on the tarmac of Joint Base Andrews before departing for Dallas. “We're in constant contact with the leadership. We are in constant contact with North Korea."
Trump also said he would not entertain any demands from Kim during the two leaders’ summit to withdraw American troops from South Korea, but suggested he would eventually “like to save the money” it costs to maintain a U.S. military presence on the Korean peninsula.
“Not really. Not at this moment, certainly not,” Trump said. “Now, I have to tell you, at some point in the future, I would like to save the money. You know, we have 32,000 troops there. But I think a lot of great things will happen. But troops are not on the table. Absolutely.”