President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump held a one-on-one summit in the Oval Office. President Moon arrived at the White House at around noon and signed the guestbook, after which he proceeded to the Oval Office with President Trump. Seated on yellow chairs in front of the fireplace, the two Presidents posed for the press corps.
Following the commemorative photo session, Presidents Trump and Moon took turns in making opening remarks.
White House National Security Advisor John Bolton stood near the wall to the left of President Trump’s seat.
While answering questions from the press corps, President Trump said, “I think South Korea is very lucky to have him.” To this, President Moon flashed a big smile and other participants burst into loud laughter.
Opening Remarks by President Trump
“Thank you very much. It’s a great honor to have President Moon of South Korea with us. We’ve become great friends over the years. And it’s now—we’ve now known each other for quite some time.
“We’re working on many things. Obviously, North Korea is the big one. No matter how big trade is, North Korea, in this case, is the big one. And we’ll be discussing that. We’ll also be discussing trade. We have a very big trade arrangement that we’re renegotiating right now with South Korea. They’ve been excellent people to work with for the Trump administration. And we will have some pretty good news, I think, on trade.
“But the big topic will be Singapore and the meeting. See what happens, whether or not it happens. If it does, that will be great. It will be a great thing for North Korea. And if it doesn’t, that’s okay too. Whatever it is, it is.
“But I look forward to spending quite a bit of time with the President. And I think a lot of good things will happen.”
Opening Remarks by President Moon
“Well, I’d like to thank you, Mr. President, for your warm hospitality and for sharing much of your time with me. I know you have a very busy domestic schedule, as well as the all-important U.S.-North Korea summit approaching.
“I heard the tragic news that many innocent lives were lost due to the shootings in a Texas high school a few days ago. So I’d like to convey my condolences to you and the American people.
“On a brighter note, I would like to congratulate you on the safe return of the American citizens who had been detained in North Korea.
“Thanks to your vision of achieving peace through strength, as well as your strong leadership, we’re looking forward to the first-ever U.S.-North Korea summit. And we find ourselves standing one step closer to the dream of achieving complete denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and world peace.
“All this was possible because of you, Mr. President. And I have no doubt that you will be able to accomplish a historic feat that no one had been able to achieve in the decades past.
“I have to say that the fate and the future of the Korean Peninsula hinge on this. And as such, I’ll spare no effort to the end to support the success of the upcoming U.S.-North Korea summit, and stand with you all along the way, Mr. President.”
After delivering opening remarks, the two Presidents fielded some unscheduled questions from American journalists.
Answer by President Moon
“Well, first of all, I am very much aware that there are many skeptical views in the United States about whether the upcoming U.S.-North Korea summit will truly be successful and whether the complete denuclearization of North Korea will be realized.
“But I don’t think there would ever be positive developments in history if we just assumed that because it all failed in the past, it will fail again.
“There have been many agreements between the United States and North Korea previously, but this will be the first time that there will be an agreement between the leaders. And, moreover, the person who is in charge is President Trump.
“And President Trump has been able to achieve this dramatic and positive change that you see right now. And I have every confidence that President Trump will be able to achieve a historic feat of making the upcoming U.S.-North Korea summit successful and end the Korean War that has lasted for the past 65 years, and also, along the way, achieve the complete denuclearization of North Korea, establish a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula and also normalize relations between the United States and North Korea. I have every confidence that he will be able to make a historic turnaround in this sense. And I will spare no effort to provide all necessary support. And I believe that all of this will lead to a great thing, that it will also guarantee the security of the North Korean regime and promise peace and prosperity for North Korea as well.”
One of the journalists noted that Cheong Wa Dae had recently emphasized its role as a mediator and asked President Moon what role the South Korean Government could play under the current circumstances, and what his take was on concerns about North Korea’s change in attitude.
President Moon answered that he was convinced the North Korea-United States summit would be held as scheduled even though there were some worries about whether it would be held as planned because of the recent change in North Korea’s attitude. He concluded his remarks by saying that his position was, rather than to mediate between the United State and North Korea, to closely coordinate and cooperate with the United States for the success of the North Korea-United States summit considering its profound impacts on the destiny of the Korean Peninsula and the Republic of Korea.