Trump expresses cautious optimism ahead of summit with North Korea

PHOTO: President Donald Trump watches as Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz departs the White House, Feb. 20, 2019, in Washington, DC.PlayChip Somodevilla/Getty Images
WATCH Trump talks North Korea summit, China trade talks to US governors

President Donald Trump travels halfway around the world on Monday for his second, high-stakes summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and the chance to make history, even as he and other administration officials sought to downplay expectations.

Interested in North Korea?

Add North Korea as an interest to stay up to date on the latest North Korea news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
Add Interest

On Monday morning at the White House, the president told the nation's governors he thinks it will be a “very tremendous summit.” But beyond stating a goal of total denuclearization, administration officials have offered few specifics ahead of the president’s trip and Trump has given only vague, optimistic previews of meeting that will likely be another international spectacle.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump gestures as he meets with North Koreas leader Kim Jong Un at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore, June 11, 2018. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images, FILE
President Donald Trump gestures as he meets with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore, June 11, 2018.

"I'll be meeting with Chairman Kim and we'll be talking about something that he never spoke to anybody about, but we're speaking, we're speaking and we'll have a very good summit. I think we'll have a very tremendous summit. We want denuclearization," Trump said.

The president met with governors from 36 states and territories in the East Room for breakfast and to discuss domestic issues like workforce development, combatting the opioid crisis and improving infrastructure, according to the White House. But the North Korean summit was on the president's mind.

The president complimented Chinese President Xi Jinping for his help with Korean negotiations.

"He has been a big help with respect to North Korea," Trump said. "I have a very, very good relationship with Kim Jong Un, very, very good. And we need all the help we can get. As you know 92 percent of the goods going into North Korea go through China and President Xi has been very good. He's been very, very good,” Trump said.

Last night, during a dinner with governors at the White House, the president said he has a “very special feeling” about the meetings in Hanoi.

“I’ve developed a very good relationship -- we’ll see what that means,” Trump said.

“We have a special feeling, and I think it’s gonna lead to something very good and maybe not. I think ultimately it will, but maybe not. I’m not pushing for speed, but we’re not removing the sanctions. And we’re going to have I think a very interesting two and a half days in Vietnam. We have a chance for the total denuclearization of an area of the world that is very dangerous,” Trump said.

While not touting that much progress will be made at the upcoming summit, the president has boasted of North Korea’s pause on missile testing since their last meeting.

“What’s going to happen, I can’t tell you. I think eventually it would, but I can’t tell you. And I’m not in a rush, I don’t want to rush anybody, but I just don’t want testing. As long as there’s no testing, we’re happy.”