MANILA -- U.S. President Donald Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday met here on the sidelines of ASEAN-related meetings to discuss North Korea.
"We have the same values, same focus in ensuring the North Korean regime comes to its senses, and stops its reckless provocations of threats of conflict in our region," Turnbull said as the meeting began.
Added Abe: "North Korea is the [region's] most pressing issue. ... We would like to have discussions that contribute to the peace and stability in the region, including North Korea."
The three are believed to have reaffirmed their close cooperation in dealing with North Korea. They were attending discussions focused around the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
"We will be making a statement from the White House sometime during Wednesday," Trump told reporters, "and it will be a very complete statement as to trade, as to North Korea, as to a lot of other things."
A day earlier during a press conference in Vietnam, Trump said that although it "might be a strange thing to happen," it is "a possibility" that he could become friends with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
On Monday, Trump told journalists who were allowed in the meeting with Abe and Turnbull for a short time that trade with other countries will also be on his agenda while he is in the Philippines. "We have made a lot of big progress on trade," he said. "We have deficits with almost everybody. Those deficits are going to be cut very quickly and very substantially."
Turnbull broke in and drew laughter from his two peers as well as from reporters. "Except us," the Australian leader interrupted.
"You are the only one," Trump joked back.
It was the first time the leaders of the three countries have met since Trump took office.
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