WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump said a planned June 12 summit in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “may not work out,” adding if it doesn’t happen then “maybe it would in the future.”
Mr. Trump, speaking from the Oval Office as he greeted South Korean President Moon Jae-in, said he believed Mr. Kim was serious about talks. The president said he was willing to “guarantee his safety” and predicted Mr. Kim would be “extremely happy with the outcome.”
Mr. Trump also said he believed that North Korea had an “opportunity to be a great country” and that South Korea, China and Japan were willing to invest “large sums of money” to that end.
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Top diplomats and government officials discuss risks, hopes and the future of North Korean relations at the WSJ CEO Council in Tokyo ahead of the planned Trump-Kim meeting in Singapore.
The president said he had been disappointed by a second meeting between Mr. Kim and Chinese premier Xi Jinping, adding, “I can’t say I’m happy about it.”
He said Mr. Kim and Mr. Moon could meet soon.
Mr. Moon, replying to Mr. Trump, urged him to move forward with the planned talks, saying he believed the U.S. president would make the summit successful and “establish permanent peace.”
“The person who is in charge is President Trump,” Mr. Moon added.
Mr. Trump replied that reunification of the Korean Peninsula would be “up to them” and that talks on that topic could happen in the future but “not now.”
Mr. Moon’s visit to Washington came as the historic planned meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim looked increasingly at risk. With three weeks to go until the scheduled event in Singapore, doubts have emerged about North Korea’s commitment to the U.S.’s longstanding demand that Pyongyang undertake complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.
Last week, North Korea lobbed three aggressively worded statements at the U.S. and South Korea through its state media. One of them, attributed to Kim Kye Gwan, Pyongyang’s longtime leading figure on nuclear negotiations, threatened to pull the plug on the June 12 summit if the U.S. was going to focus on North Korea’s “unilateral nuclear abandonment.”
If that were the case, “we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and cannot but reconsider our proceeding to the DPRK-U.S. summit,” Mr. Kim was quoted as saying, using the abbreviation for North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
At the time, the White House said in response that it had fully expected such harsh language and added: “The president is very used to and ready for tough negotiations.”
—Louise Radnofsky contributed to this article.
Write to Michael C. Bender at Mike.Bender@wsj.com and Jonathan Cheng at firstname.lastname@example.org