President Donald Trump said he expects to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at an Asian economic summit next week amid strains over sanctions against Moscow, the Syria conflict and the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
‘I think it’s expected we’ll meet with Putin, yeah,’ Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Saturday.
‘We want Putin’s help on North Korea, and we’ll be meeting with a lot of different leaders.’
Trump said that he expects to meet Russian leader Vladimir Putin to discuss, North Korea, the Syrian conflict and strains over economic sanctions aimed at Moscow
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump emerge from their limousine and greeted the press before departing for a 12 day Asia trip
Trump made the comments before touching down in Japan, where he is scheduled to to discuss economic and security issues with regional partners on a 12 day tour of the far east.
From there he’ll go to South Korea, China and Vietnam, a country in which he could reunite with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
One of the biggest concerns for America and its Far East allies is North Korea, with tensions soaring since Trump assumed the presidency in January.
Trump told reporters, however, that his issues rest squarely the government in Pyongyang.
‘I think they’re great people,’ Trump said of North Korean citizens.
‘They’re industrious. They’re warm, much warmer than the world really knows or understands. They’re great people. And I hope it all works out for everybody.’
The Kremlin on Friday said talks were under way to set up an encounter at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Danang, Vietnam, from Nov. 8-10.
‘It (the meeting) is indeed being discussed,’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. ‘It’s hard to overestimate the importance and significance for all international matters of any contact between the presidents of Russia and the United States.’
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin during their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017
Putin and Trump first met at a G20 summit in Hamburg in July when they discussed allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. election last year but agreed to focus on better ties rather than litigating the past.
Trump leaves behind a spate of scandals behind, including the indictment of his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, as he heads to Hawaii, where he will land at local time in the afternoon.
The final leg of Trump’s trip will be spent in the Philippines, where he will attend the U.S.-ASEAN and East Asia summits and meet for the first time with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
Trump mad the comments as relations between Moscow and Washington have soured since the 71-year-old took office in January.
Trump in August grudgingly signed off on new sanctions against Russia, a move Moscow said ended hopes for better ties. Putin ordered Washington to cut its embassy and consular staff in Russia by more than half.
Tensions have also flared over the conflict in Syria.
If it the Trump-Putin meeting comes about, it would come as investigations in Washington over alleged Russian meddling in the presidential election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign yielded its first indictments.
U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller’s office this week unveiled charges against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, Manafort associate Richard Gates and campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty while Papadapoulos pleaded guilty.
The Wall Street Journal also has reported that U.S. authorities have enough evidence to charge six members of the Russian government in the hacking of Democratic National Committee computers during the 2016 campaign.