Washington, Mar 11: President Donald Trump predicted "tremendous success" today in upcoming groundbreaking talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, adding that the reclusive state had promised not to shoot missiles in the interim.
The comments came after the American leader said he has received encouragement from the leaders of China and Japan as he moves toward the high stakes summit, announced suddenly this week. "I think North Korea is going to go very well, I think we will have tremendous success... We have a lot of support," Trump told reporters before boarding his Marine One helicopter to travel to a rally in Pennsylvania. "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, Trump said China's President Xi Jinping was appreciative of his decision to opt for diplomacy rather than "the ominous alternative," while Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was "very enthusiastic" about talks with North Korea.
Trump reached out to the Asian leaders in phone calls Friday after his stunning decision to accept an invitation to meet Kim before the end of May. The turnabout -- a huge surprise after months of intensifying brinksmanship over the North's nuclear and missile programs -- caught even Trump's top aides off guard.
Just hours before Trump made his announcement Thursday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said direct talks with North Korea were "a long way" off. Tillerson, who was travelling in Africa, cancelled his scheduled program in Kenya because he felt unwell after a "long couple days" working on North Korea and other issues, his Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy Steve Goldstein said in a statement. Goldstein later said Tillerson was feeling better and would resume his travel schedule on Sunday.