Trump-Kim summit ended abruptly over North Korea sanctions

Published Thu, Feb 28, 2019 · 07:44 AM
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[HANOI] US President Donald Trump said his summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un ended with no agreement because he was not willing to lift all the sanctions on North Korea.

"It was about the sanctions," he told reporters after the summit ended without a joint statement. "Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn't do that."

"Sometimes you have to walk, and this was just one of those times," he told reporters after the summit was abruptly cut short.

The second meeting between the two leaders was supposed to build on their historic first summit in Singapore but they failed to bridge their differences and did not sign a joint statement as initially scheduled.

They had "very good and constructive meetings" and "discussed various ways to advance denuclearisation and economic driven concepts", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

But she went on: "No agreement was reached at this time," adding that their "respective teams look forward to meeting in the future."

It fell far short of the pre-meeting expectations and hopes, after critics said their initial historic meeting in Singapore was more style over substance.

"This is a major failure," tweeted Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund peace foundation.

It showed the limit of summitry, he added, with "not enough time or staff" to work out a deal.

In the original White House programme, a "Joint Agreement Signing Ceremony" had been scheduled in Hanoi as well as a working lunch for the two leaders.

In the event, both men left the summit venue without signing anything and Mr Trump moved up his news conference by two hours.

Ankit Panda, from the Federation of American Scientists, warned on Twitter that the White House's expectation of further talks "does not have to be a perception shared in North Korea. Mr Kim may have left irate, for all we know. He may have no intention of continuing this."

Mr Trump flew around the world for the meeting and Mr Kim undertook a mammoth two-and-a-half-day trek through China in his olive green train, travelling 4,000 kilometres.

At first the smiles and bonhomie from Singapore ran on into their second date in Hanoi as Mr Trump touted the "special relationship" between the two, although concrete statements were vague.

The US president frequently dangled the prospect of a brighter economic future for a nuclear-free North Korea, at one point saying there was "AWESOME" potential.

From the outset, he had appeared to downplay expectations of an immediate breakthrough in nuclear talks, saying he was in "no rush" to clinch a rapid deal and was content if a pause in missile testing continued.

But Harry Kazianis, Director of Korean Studies at the Centre for the National Interest, said that no agreement was better than a bad one.

There would be "nothing worse than signing a deal just to get something", he said.


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