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Trump: I’ll know whether Kim summit will be successful ‘in first minute’

  • President speaks to press at international summit in Canada
  • Trump guided in nuclear talks by ‘just my touch, my feel’

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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Trump: I’ll know whether Kim summit will be successful ‘in first minute'” was written by Sabrina Siddiqui in Washington and Martin Pengelly in New York, for theguardian.com on Saturday 9th June 2018 17.34 UTC

Donald Trump on Saturday said his summit with Kim Jong-un in Singapore would be a “one-time shot”. Speaking to reporters at the G7 summit in La Malbaie, Canada, the US president projected confidence over the prospects for a deal on denuclearization, stating: “I think within the first minute, I’ll know.”

“Just my touch, my feel, that’s what I do,” he said. “How long will it take to figure out if they’re serious? You know, the way they say you know if you’re going to like somebody in the first five seconds, you ever hear that one? I think very quickly I’ll know whether or not something good is going to happen.”

Trump spoke as he prepared to depart for Singapore and the first meeting between a North Korean leader and a sitting US president. The two leaders’ relationship began with a long period of mutual threats and abuse but a surprise and rapid diplomatic thaw has endured despite Trump’s abrupt cancellation of the summit late last month.

“You don’t know, it’s not been done before at this level,” Trump said of attempts to establish peace with a reclusive, authoritarian and nuclear-armed regime. He added: “This is a leader that’s really an unknown personality, people don’t know much about him. I think that he’s going to surprise on the upside, very much on the upside, we’ll see.”

The Trump administration has said it wants a “permanent, verifiable, irreversible” dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and a peace treaty to formally end the Korean war, which ceased only with an armistice in 1953.

“It’s a one-time shot and I think it’s going to work out very well,” Trump said, though he also indicated that the summit may only be a starting point, saying it “may not work out. There’s a good chance it won’t work out. There’s probably an even better chance that it will take a period of time, it’ll be a process.”

The president also downplayed suggestions he was not well prepared, a notion he appeared to reinforce earlier this week when he said his approach to the meeting was not about preparation but “about attitude”. Those comments sparked concerns among national security experts that the North Korean leader could outfox his opposite number.

“So we’re going in with a very positive spirit, very well prepared, I think,” Trump said, before misidentifying the site of the meeting. “And by the way, we have worked very well with their people, they have many people now in Shanghai, our people have been – in Singapore – our people have been working very, very well with the representatives of North Korea and I think we’re going to come out fine.”

Asked about suggestions that even granting a meeting to Kim meant conceding valuable ground, he said: “Only the fake news says that. We just got three hostages back, we paid nothing … we have gotten … we haven’t done anything. The haters, they say, ‘Oh, you’re giving him a meeting’ – gimme a break, OK?”

Donald Trump leaves the summit, followed by chief of staff John Kelly, economic adviser Larry Kudlow and national security adviser John Bolton.
Donald Trump leaves the summit, followed by his chief of staff, John Kelly, economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, and national security adviser, John Bolton.
Photograph: Clemens Bilan/EPA

Trump also made lengthy complaints about other countries’ trade policies and doubled down on his claim that Russia should be reinstated to the G7, having been suspended in 2014 after its annexation of Crimea. Trump’s statement on Friday that the Putin regime should be readmitted sparked bipartisan scorn and rebuke from key US allies.

“I think it would be an asset to have Russia back in,” Trump told reporters on Saturday. “I think it would be good for the world, I think it would be good for Russia, I think it would be good for the United States, I think it would be good for all of the countries in the G7.”

Trump blamed Barack Obama for not doing enough to counter Russian aggression in Ukraine, stating: “Obama can say all he wants but he allowed Russia to take Crimea. I may have had a much different attitude.”

Obama condemned Russia’s actions and pursued sanctions against Moscow.

Trump also pushed back at suggestions that under his leadership, amid disputes regarding relations with Russia and international trade, the US was becoming isolated from its traditional allies.

“I would say the level of relationship is a 10,” he said, claiming “we have a great relationship” with the leaders of countries including Germany, France and Canada.

After a prompt from his economic adviser Larry Kudlow, the US president then left the summit.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Kremlin “pleased” with Helsinki summit, US and Western intelligence assesses

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CNN Reports:

Russian officials were “pleased” with the Helsinki summit between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, US and Western intelligence agencies have found, according to two intelligence sources with knowledge of the assessments.

The assessments, based on a broad range of intelligence, indicate that the Kremlin believes the July 16 summit delivered a better outcome than it had expected, but that Moscow is perplexed that Trump is not delivering more Russia-friendly policies in its aftermath.

The intelligence sources say the Russians were particularly satisfied with the press conference the two leaders gave in Helsinki after Trump and Putin met for about two hours without staff and accompanied only by translators. In the 45-minute press conference, Trump discredited US intelligence and American policies more broadly, saying “the United States has been foolish” about ties with Russia, a country that has engaged in ongoing attacks on US democracy.

A spokesperson for the Office of Director of National Intelligence declined to comment, and the White House did not respond to request for comment.

The administration’s decision last week to impose sanctions on Russia for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter left Russian officials puzzled that the President is not delivering more favorable policies.

Trump has repeatedly called for warmer relations with Moscow, but the Kremlin is neglecting to factor in the considerable role that Congress and others play in US policy-making, a Western intelligence official said.

Putin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov’s comments last week reflected the deflated Russian hopes for improved ties with Washington or at least less punitive US policies.

“President Putin said in Helsinki that Russia still has hopes for the creation of a constructive relationship with Washington…We are sorry that often we are not met with cooperation on this account,” Peskov said Aug. 9 in a regular press call with reporters.

Peskov’s comments contrasted sharply with the evaluation Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov offered immediately after the summit, when he said that the talks had been “better than super.”

Trump’s performance in Helsinki sparked unusually public criticism, even from within his own party.

The administration’s decision to impose the sanctions followed a July 26 letter from GOP Congressman Ed Royce, the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, urging the White House to comply with a law requiring the US to levy sanctions against countries that violate the 1991 Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act.

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