President Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in signed a major agreement of Trump’s trade agenda Monday, on a busy day at the U.N. General Assembly during which Trump also revealed he’d meet again with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “quite soon.”
The U.S. and South Korean presidents signed an update to an existing U.S.-South Korea free-trade agreement. Trump called it a “very big deal” and said the new agreement would make significant improvements to reduce the trade deficit between the countries and create new opportunities to export American products to South Korea.
“This agreement will reduce bureaucracy and increase prosperity in both of our countries. Workers in South Korea and America will find new customers and new opportunities to expand and grow,” Trump said. “Our teams will be working hard to ensure that the terms of the deal are fully implemented.”
He said U.S. automobiles, pharmaceuticals and agricultural products will gain better access to Korean markets.
“I think our farmers are going to be extremely happy. It was very limited as to what they could do and what they could send, and now it’s an open market,” Trump added. “That makes me feel very good. I love our farmers.”
Moon said companies from both countries will be able to do business under more stable conditions. The South Korean leader also said he hopes the revised agreement with the U.S. will help solidify their cooperation in other areas.
Moon said: “I’m hopeful that this will provide us with a platform, upon which our bilateral economic ties will be elevated to a higher level, in a freer, fairer and more mutually beneficial direction.”
During his appearance with Moon, Trump also raised hopes at the United Nations on Monday that a second meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un could happen soon, striking a conciliatory tone one year after he used his debut at the U.N. to deride the autocrat as “Little Rocket Man” and threaten to “totally destroy North Korea.”
Trump praised Kim as “very open” and “terrific,” despite the glacial pace of progress toward denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
The softer tone toward the erstwhile pariah state of North Korea — once threatened with “fire and fury” — has been replaced by rosy optimism, with Trump reserving tough rhetoric for another potential nuclear aspirant and strategic foe: Iran.
“It was a different world,” Trump said Monday of his one-time moniker for the North Korean leader. “That was a dangerous time. This is one year later, a much different time.”
Trump also praised Egypt for doing an “outstanding job” in the fight against terrorism.
Trump told Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Monday that the fight is “not easy,” but his country is “at the forefront.”
El-Sissi replied that Egypt will be able to eliminate terrorism with Trump’s support. El-Sissi said it’s an obligation Trump has made clear.
Trump told el-Sissi, “We will work with you, and we will go all the way.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.