After signing an aspirational denuclearization document with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday in Singapore, President Trump spoke with the press, starting with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos. Trump said Kim is "de-nuking the whole place. I think he's going to start now." He said removing the 32,000 U.S. troops from South Korea did not come up in discussions but he agreed "we're not going to play the war games" with South Korea anymore, calling them "very provocative" and "also very expensive."
Trump reiterated his intention to end the "war games" at a news conference afterward, saying it "will save us a tremendous amount of money." Trump "cast the decision as a cost-saving measure, but North Korea has long objected to the drills as a security threat," The Associated Press notes. Trump added, "I want to bring our soldiers back home" from South Korea at some point, another major goal of North Korea's.
In remarks before taking questions, Trump called his meeting with Kim "honest, direct, and productive" and said the Korean War, which never technically ended, "will soon end." He seemed confident that Kim will agree to give up all nuclear weapons, noting that he's already "destroying a major missile engine testing site," though Trump didn't provide more information. "This isn't the past — this isn't another administration that never got it started and therefore never got it done," Trump said. "They should have been done years ago, they should have been resolved a long time ago. But we're resolving it now."
The document Trump and Kim signed "was similar to what the leaders of North and South Korea came up with at their own summit in April," AP says. "At the time, the Koreans faced criticism for essentially kicking the issue of North Korea's nuclear arsenal down the road to Tuesday's Trump-Kim summit" with "a weak commitment to denuclearization and no specifics on how to achieve it."