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Remarks Prior to a Meeting With President Moon Jae-in of South Korea and an Exchange With Reporters in New York City

September 24, 2018

President Trump. Thank you very much. It's a great honor to be with a very good friend of mine, President Moon of South Korea. We're having a very important set of discussions today, tomorrow, and the next day. We've been having them for quite some time, since you first gained office. And you're doing a terrific job. And I think we're doing a terrific job together.

We've had terrific talks on trade. And we'll be signing, in a little while, a very important trade agreement with South Korea and the United States. And I think it's a very exciting event.

It was a long time in coming, and it's a basic redoing of the agreement that was done before, which was a very unfair agreement for the United States. And I think that President Moon and myself, we're very happy. It's great for South Korea. It's great for the United States. It's great for both.

And we also talked, obviously, about North Korea, where we're making tremendous progress. Chairman Kim has been really very open and terrific, frankly. And I think he wants to see something happen. So we have done—I think, mutually, we've done very well with respect to North Korea. And we'll be discussing that during the next couple of days. We'll be certainly discussing it now.

But I just want to say it's a great honor to have President Moon with us. And thank you very much, Mr. President, for coming. Thank you.

President Moon. Well, thank you, Mr. President. It's a pleasure to see you again, 4 months after our meeting in Washington, in May.

Thanks to your support, I had a great trip to Pyongyang. We reached a good agreement between the two Koreas and achieved progress on denuclearization of North Korea.

There was also a message from Chairman Kim that he wanted me to convey to you, and I'm very pleased to have this opportunity to meet you and give you a readout of the discussions I had with Chairman Kim Jong Un immediately after returning from Pyongyang. I hope it will contribute to the efforts to achieve complete denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula, as well as to the U.S.-North Korea dialogue at your second summit with Chairman Kim.

In particular, it's hugely significant that Chairman Kim personally expressed his commitment to denuclearization in front of the world media and that I highlighted once again the denuclearization agreement reached with Chairman Kim in front of 150,000 citizens of Pyongyang. And now North Korea's decision to relinquish its nuclear program has been officialized to a degree that not even those within North Korea can reverse.

Thanks to your bold decision and new approach, we are in the process of solving a problem that no one has been able to solve in the decades past. I'd like to thank you for this, Mr. President.

And Chairman Kim also repeatedly conveyed his unwavering trust and expectations for you, while expressing his hope to meet you soon to swiftly conclude the denuclearization process with you, because you are, indeed, the only person who can solve this problem. I look forward to seeing the U.S.-North Korea summit take place and wish you a great success.

As for the revision of the free trade agreement between our two countries, I believe that it's significant because it means that our alliance is being expanded to the economic realm as well. And I'm very pleased that we have revised this agreement to achieve a freer, a fairer, and more mutually beneficial agreement. And through this agreement, I hope that the bilateral economic ties will be promoted even further. Thank you.

President Trump. Thank you very much. Thank you very much.

We'll be having a second summit with Chairman Kim in the not too distant future. Secretary of State will be dealing with that subject. But Mike Pompeo has been in touch with them, and we've been in touch with them. And I think within a fairly—pretty short period of time, that will be announced, and it will be location to be determined.

But we're both very much looking forward to having it. It will be between North Korea and the United States. It will be similar to the format we had before, most likely a different location. Again, it will be announced pretty soon.

I think a lot of progress is being made. I see tremendous enthusiasm on behalf of Chairman Kim toward making a deal, and I think that that's something that's very good. We are in no rush. There's no hurry. We got back 3 months ago or so. I think we've made more progress than anybody has made in—ever, frankly, with regard to North Korea.

I really believe North Korea has tremendous economic potential. And I believe that Chairman Kim and the people of North Korea want to see that potential arrived at, and we will help them to that end. And the relationship is very good; in fact, in some ways, it's extraordinary. We'll see what happens. But we will be having a second summit in the not-too-distant future. Okay? Thank you all very much.

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein/U.S. Economy

Q. Mr. President, are you going to fire Rod Rosenstein? Are you going to fire Rod Rosenstein?

President Trump. No, I'm meeting with Rod Rosenstein on Thursday when I get back from all of these meetings. And we'll be meeting at the White House, and we'll be determining what's going on. We want to have transparency; we want to have openness. And I look forward to meeting with Rod at that time. Okay?

Q. Mr. President, sir, do you have a—what do you want to do with Mr. Rosenstein? What would you like to do with him?

President Trump. Well, we're going to have a meeting on Thursday when I get back. Right now, today, we're meeting with a lot of great people, including President Moon. And we're—over the next couple of days, as you know, we're meeting with many countries. Tomorrow we're giving a big speech, but I'll be back on Thursday. And when I get back, we're going to have meeting. I've spoke with Rod today and we're going to have meeting on Thursday when I get back to the White House.

I want to say, the country, the United States—as President Moon pointed out when we first met—the United States is doing better economically than we've ever done before. The numbers are outstanding. New numbers will be released that I think will just continue this forward march. And I think we have tremendous potential on the upside.

I'm very excited about our new trade agreement. And this is a brandnew agreement. This is not an old one, rewritten. This is a brandnew agreement. And I'm very excited about that for the United States, and I really believe it's good for both countries.

But the numbers that we're doing in the United States, whether it be unemployment numbers or whether it be employment numbers—we have right now, this moment, more people working in the United States than ever before in our history. That's some number, Mike, right? And you know, we—it's a number that people did not expect to see. It's a number that nobody thought would happen, certainly within 2 years. We're not even up to 2 years of the administration. So we have more people working in the United States today than we've ever had.

Our unemployment numbers are among the best they've ever had. For African American, it's the lowest we've ever had. For Asian American, for Hispanics, the lowest we've ever had. And we're very proud of that.

And on top of that, we have many companies moving back into the United States. In most cases, it's back. They left, and now they're coming back. They all want to be where the action is.

So I appreciate your kind words, but our economy is the envy right now of the world. We're the fastest growing economy in the world. Think of it. As large as we are, we're the fastest growing economy in the world. Up $10 trillion. So we're very proud of that. Thank you very much, everybody.

Q. Do you believe Rosenstein——

NOTE: The President spoke at 2:50 p.m. at United Nations Headquarters. President Moon spoke in Korean, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks Prior to a Meeting With President Moon Jae-in of South Korea and an Exchange With Reporters in New York City Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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