President Donald Trump set wildly opposite expectations in one sentence for his possible summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, including that it could never happen.
He first said his one-on-one meeting with Kim could happen “very soon,” before saying he expects negotiations will allow an “early June” summit to take place. But the president then moved up the possible date to “before that” before backpedaling.
“It’s possible things won’t go well and we won’t have the meetings and we’ll just continue to go on this very strong path we have taken,” Trump told reporters as he welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to his South Florida resort for their own summit.
Trump said his administration has had talks with the North Korean government at “very high levels.” He also noted five locations are under consideration; none are inside the United States.
The Trump-Abe meetings come as experts warn the United States and Japan have drifted apart on issues like North Korea and trade since Trump feted Abe at the White House followed by a joint trip to his Florida compound last February.
The U.S. president did not shy away from a sense the two days of talks and swanky meals are about, in large part, mending fences. “Japan and ourselves are locked and we are very unified on the subject of North Korea,” Trump said.
Trump contradicted his staff even during the brief remarks. A senior administration official told reporters Friday the two leaders would not play golf like they did last year at his nearby resort.
“We’re going to sneak out tomorrow,” he said, “and play a round of golf, if possible.”