By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - President Donald Trump said Thursday he would "certainly" invite North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to the U.S. if next week's summit in Singapore goes well, but added he is "totally prepared to walk away" should progress not be achieved.
Addressing reporters at the White House alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump said he thinks the invite "would be well-received" by Kim, but insisted that the North must denuclearize if it wishes to receive any sort of relief from international sanctions.
Trump further said he would like to normalize relations with Washington's decades-long enemy if the parties are able to broker a historic accord to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
“Normalizing relations is something that I would expect to do, hope to do, once everything is complete. We would certainly hope to do that,” Trump said in the Rose Garden.
Abe stressed the importance for Tokyo of releasing Japanese citizens held hostage in the North, saying in remarks translated from Japanese that the American president "fully understands" the importance of their release.
Over a dozen Japanese citizens are held in the North.
Trump is scheduled to meet with Kim on Tuesday at Singapore's luxury Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island. If it goes ahead, it will be the first such meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.
Trump previously called off the meeting amid heated comments from senior North Korean and U.S. officials, but said it was back on last Friday after meeting for roughly two hours with Kim's second-in-command at the White House.
In addition to denuclearization, Trump said the U.S. and North Korea will discuss a formal end to the decades-old Korean War, and said such an agreement could be penned during next week's sit-down.
“That’s probably the easy part. The hard part remains after that,” he said.