Donald Trump said he would strive to make a looming meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a “worldwide success”.
“We hope to see the day when the whole Korean peninsula can live together in safety, prosperity and peace”, the president during in an appearance with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe in Florida.
Containing North Korean aggression has been a focal point of Japanese-American relations. While saying the US would do “everything possible” to make a planned meeting with Mr Kim successful, Mr Trump reiterated that America would maintain a “maximum pressure” campaign that includes choking sanctions.
“We have come a long way with North Korea”, Mr Trump said, hailing China’s help in imposing “unbelievably powerful sanctions”.
In the months leading up to its pivot towards diplomacy, Pyongyang tested multiple intercontinental ballistic missiles by hurling them over Japan and threatened to annihilate the archipelago.
The regime adopted a softer posture towards one of its neighbours during the Winter Olympics in South Korea, sending Mr Kim’s sister with a delegation of athletes and then holding talks with Seoul before issuing Mr Trump an invitation to meet with Mr Kim.
It was revealed this week that CIA director Mike Pompeo, who is under consideration to be the next US secretary of state, had travelled to North Korea over Easter weekend to secretively lay the groundwork for talks.
Mr Trump told reporters he believes the talks will occur by June. It is not clear where they would be held.