President Trump said Saturday he’s counting on North Korea to refrain from any missile tests while he prepares for his first face-to-face meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Departing the White House for a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, Mr. Trump predicted “tremendous success” with his pending diplomacy in Asia.
“I think North Korea is going to go very well,” the president told reporters. “I think this is going to be something very successful. We have a lot of support. The promise is they wouldn’t be shooting off missiles in the meantime, and they’re looking to de-nuke. So that’d be great.”
Earlier, the president said on Twitter that he trusts Pyongyang to keep its commitments against provocation leading up to the talks.
“North Korea has not conducted a Missile Test since November 28, 2017 and has promised not to do so through our meetings. I believe they will honor that commitment!” Mr. Trump tweeted.
Pyongyang claimed after its most recent missile test in November that it has a new rocket capable of striking anywhere on the U.S. mainland, and declared itself a “complete” nuclear state.
Earlier Saturday, Mr. Trump said that China’s president is pleased that Mr. Trump is pursuing diplomacy with North Korea instead of “the ominous alternative.”
“Chinese President XI JINPING and I spoke at length about the meeting with KIM JONG UN of North Korea,” Mr. Trump tweeted about their phone call a day earlier. “President XI told me he appreciates that the U.S. is working to solve the problem diplomatically rather than going with the ominous alternative. China continues to be helpful!”
Mr. Trump, who vowed last year to rain “fire and fury” on North Korea if it attacks the U.S., accepted an invitation from Mr. Kim to meet for talks within the next two months. The date and location haven’t been set.
Chinese state media said Mr. Xi applauded the move by Mr. Trump as a “positive gesture.”
“We hope that all relevant parties can make positive gestures and refrain from actions that prevent the situation on the Korean peninsula from calming down,” Mr. Xi was quoted as saying on state-run broadcaster CCTV.
The White House said Friday that North Korea must demonstrate “concrete steps” toward denuclearization before the talks can go forward.
China is North Korea’s most important trading partner. The president has been pushing Mr. Xi to exert more economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea to scale back its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
Mr. Trump also said that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with whom he spoke on Thursday, “is very enthusiastic about talks with North Korea.”