President Donald Trump’s remarks follow months of pressure from China and South Korea on Washington to invest in the economic reconstruction of North Korea, ravaged by nearly a century of oppressive communist rule.
“I don’t think the United States is going to have to spend,” Trump said, standing next to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Friday afternoon following a two-hour meeting with Kim Yong-chol, a senior North Korean official labeled a “Specially designated person” by the U.S. Treasury for his reported involvement in multiple terrorist attacks, including the 2014 hacking of Sony.
“South Korea will do that,” Trump told a reporter who asked if the two sides discussed American economic nation-building in the country.
“I think South Korea will do it. I think China – I think, frankly, China will help out. I think Japan will help out. I don’t see the United States spending a lot of money.”
“We have three hostages – how much money did we spend on the hostages?” Trump asked.
“And I think they really want to see something great happen. Japan does, South Korea does, and I think China does,” Trump concluded.
In a joint statement published following a meeting between leftist South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the two nations agreed that “The international community, including the United States, must actively take part in ensuring a bright future for North Korea through a security guarantee and support for its economic development.”