Lotte New York Palace
New York, New York
1:50 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. It’s great to be with Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan. We had a wonderful dinner the other night in New York at Trump Tower. We spent a lot of time talking about a lot of different subjects, including North Korea, Asia, trade — lots of different things.
We’re doing much more business, much more trade with Japan right now, and things are working out very well. I want to congratulate Prime Minister Abe for a smashing election win just last week. That was a tremendous win. We actually celebrated at the Trump Tower. (Laughter.) His win, his birthday — a lot of good things are happening for him. And we have a lot of good things happening between our countries.
So, Prime Minister Abe, thank you very much.
PRIME MINISTER ABE: (As interpreted.) So, on the 23rd, as you mentioned, over dinner, we too enjoyed the great view from the Trump Tower, and also we had a wonderful discussion over the wonderful dinner that you presented for us.
And on that occasion, you kindly celebrated my birthday, and also you kindly celebrated my recent victory in the presidential election of my party, LDP.
And right after my victory in the presidential election of my own party, Mr. President kindly tweeted and congratulated my victory. And also your daughter, Ms. Ivanka Trump, tweeted about my victory, which I do appreciate.
So on Sunday, over dinner, we did have a very, very candid discussion on a wide range of matters, including North Korea, our bilateral economic ties, as well as the issues in Asia.
So at today’s summit meeting, I first would like to discuss the issue of North Korea, as well as our respective policies to North Korea based on the outcome of your meeting with President Moon Jae-in the day before yesterday, and also based on my meeting with President Moon yesterday. And I then would like to reconfirm our robust coordination on this front.
And on top of that, I understand that, this morning, Minister Motegi and Ambassador Lighthizer, USTR, had a very productive discussion. And building upon the wonderful outcome that the minister of — ministers had this morning, I would like to discuss with you ways to reinforce the economic ties between Japan and the United States. And I certainly look forward to having a very constructive discussion.
And once again, I would like to commend the fact that there is now a major transformational change is about to take place in our approach, as well as how we deal with North Korea and also the situation surrounding North Korea in the aftermath of the historic summit meeting that you had with Chairman Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you very much. I will say that we are going down a number of fronts. We’ve agreed today to start trade negotiations between the United States and Japan. This was something that, for various reasons over the years, Japan was unwilling to do, and now they are willing to do so. We’re very happy about that, and I’m sure that we’ll come to a satisfactory conclusion. And if we don’t, oh… (Inaudible.) (Laughter.)
Actually, I think we will probably come to a conclusion. I think it’ll be something very exciting. And Japan is very smart. Great negotiators. And, you know, up until now, they’ve done very well, and they’ll continue to do very well.
We’re going to have a really great relationship, better than ever before on trade. I think it’s going to be better for Japan and better for the United States. It can only be better for the United States because it didn’t get any worse than what has happened over the years. So I think it’s going to be better, really, for both countries.
And Prime Minister Abe, I think I can speak for him, saying that he’s very hopeful and really thinks there’s a very good chance of doing something with North Korea. I know he wants to be very helpful to them in economic development.
And Chairman Kim sees a great future for North Korea. And I believe and I firmly know that Japan wants to help him toward that future, economically. And we all want to help. And, frankly, I think also that President Moon in South Korea, they want to be very much involved. So North Korea really has a great future. I believe we’re doing very well. I think we’re doing much better than anybody would know.
I just showed a letter that I received just yesterday from Chairman Kim, which is an extraordinary letter. I’ve received other letters also from Chairman Kim. He wants to thing — see things happen for North Korea that are great, that can make it an economic power. And they really have the potential to be that.
So we look forward to our second summit that will take place, I believe, fairly quickly. Secretary of State Pompeo is working on that right now. And they want to have it, and we want to have it. And we’ll start the process.
In the meantime, you know that sanctions are remaining and a lot of good things are happening. But the sanctions will remain. And I think we can do something where, ideally, very positive things are going to happen with respect to North Korea.
If you go back a year, or if you go back certainly from the time I took office, it looked like we were going to war with North Korea. It doesn’t look like that at all anymore; it looks like just the opposite. So we’re very happy about that.
I just want to finish by saying that North Korea, under the leadership of Chairman Kim, has tremendous economic potential. Tremendous. And I think that Chairman Kim sees that maybe better than anybody. So we will get back to work on that.
I want to thank President Moon for being so gracious yesterday. He was so gracious to me as President, but to the United States and the job we’ve done and the job we’re doing, because we have to get it finished. But he was tremendous yesterday. He was interviewed by various people, in particular by Fox, and he was tremendous in his statements. And I just want to thank President Moon. I hope he hears this thank you because I haven’t seen him since our meeting. But I just want thank him for his gracious words. Thank you very much. Thank you.
And, by the way, I have to say this: Japan is a great country with a great leader. And I think that our relationship is now better than it’s ever been. I have to say that. And I mean that very strongly.
Q Mr. President, a reaction to the latest Kavanaugh allegations?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think it’s ridiculous. It’s a con game that they’re playing. The Democrats are playing this game that is disgraceful. It’s a disgrace to the country. And I think you’re going to see it in the midterms. I think people are wise to it. It’s just a con game.
He’s a high quality person. They’re bringing people out of the woods. They can do that to anybody. They can do it to anybody — other than perhaps Prime Minister Abe, because he is so pure. I mean, (inaudible). (Laughter.) But they can do it to anybody, what they are doing. And it’s really, really sad.
If you look at this lawyer that just came out, he’s a low life. He represented Democrats. Nobody ever talks about that. He’s a Democrat lawyer. Not a very good one, but he’s a Democrat lawyer.
So it’s a horrible con game. I think the people are finding it out. And hopefully, over the next couple of days, it will be settled up and solved. And we will have a Supreme Court Justice who will go down as one of our greatest ever. Hopefully he’s going to be there for a long time. He’s a young man. And he’ll be there for a long time. And I’ll be very proud of him, just as I’m very proud of Justice Gorsuch.
So, we — I think it’s really working out very well. I really do. I think it’s doing well. I think people are seeing what a disgrace these Democrat senators are when they come out with statements like that — when they don’t even talk about it, and then after the hearings are completely over, they come out with what they come out with.
It’s a disgrace what’s going on. The good news is the public is very smart, and they get it.
Q But do you think all the women are lying? Are all three women lying?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: What’s your next question?
Q Mr. President, can you explain why an ad in the Des Moines Register amounts to election interference by China?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Why what?
Q Why an ad in the Des Moines Register amounts to election interference?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, take a look at it. You have not only ads, you have statements made that they’re going to hit our farmers — who are my voters. I love the farmers. I’m taking care of the farmers.
I’m opening up markets like nobody has ever opened markets before because right now we have closed markets, whether it’s the European Union; or China; or Canada — by the way, who charges 300-percent tariffs to our farmers. I’m opening up markets.
My farmers, our farmers — I love them. These are great patriots. These are people that say, “Let the President do what he has to do to do it.” We’re going to make the farmers wealthy. We’re going to make farmers wealthy.
You look at what’s happened to farmers over the last 15 years. You look at what’s happened to soybean prices over the last five years before the election. They went down 50 percent.
The farmers were getting — have been getting hurt in our country for many years. And that’s because they had artificial barriers, artificial tariffs — all sorts of things have made it impossible for them.
I’m opening it up. And you know the one that gets it best? The ones that get it best are the farmers themselves. These are great patriots. These are incredible people. They’re going to do so well.
But China is going and attacking the farm belt — our farmers. They’re attacking our (inaudible) with ads and with statements that don’t look like ads; it looks like they’re editorials. And they’re not. They’re made up by China because they don’t want me to get elected because this has never happened to them. Their markets are down 32 percent in the last four months, and our markets are up.
We’re taking in billions of dollars in tariff money going right into our Treasury, and China is getting hurt.
So I don’t like it when they attack our farmers. And I don’t like it when they put out false messages. But beside that, we learned that they are trying to meddle in our elections. And we’re not going to let that happen. Just as we’re not going to let that happen with Russia. Okay?
Thank you very much. Thank you all very much.
Q Mr. President, will you keep the government open? Will you sign the new spending bill?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’ll keep the government open. We’re going to keep the government open.
2:07 P.M. EDT