Trump-Kim summit was cut short after North Korea demanded an end to sanctions
The White House said Thursday that the nuclear summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was cut short and no agreement was reached.
U.S. President Donald Trump said he cut short his nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un because the two sides could not agree on sanctions,
“It wasn’t a good thing to be signing anything,” Trump said during a post-summit news conference. “We had some options, and at this time we decided not to do any of the options.”
The president said he had not committed to a third summit with Kim. Still, Trump described the talks as productive, and highlighted his relationship with his North Korean counterpart.
“Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn’t do that,” Trump said. “They were willing to de-nuke a large portion of the areas that we wanted, but we couldn’t give up all of the sanctions for that. So we continue to work and we’ll see, but we had to walk away from that particular suggestion. We had to walk away from that.”
Trump claimed Kim offered to close down one weapons facility in exchange for the complete removal of sanctions, but that the U.S. team “brought many points up that they were surprised that we knew” and so demanded more actions from Kim’s regime.
The president confirmed that all the current sanctions on Pyongyang will remain in place.
American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during the news conference that the U.S. team had tried to lay the groundwork before the summit for an agreement, but Thursday’s talks did not seal the deal.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t get all the way. We didn’t get to something that ultimately made sense for the United States of America,” Pompeo said. “I think Chairman Kim was hopeful that we would. We asked him to do more and he was unprepared to do that.”
Trump said “one of the first calls” he planned to make after the press conference would be to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, to discuss the events of the summit.
The meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam ended significantly earlier than had originally been scheduled, and the leaders did not even stick around for a pre-planned lunch. The White House indicated there had been no new agreements reached during the summit.
“The two leaders discussed various ways to advance denuclearization and economic driven concepts,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said. “No agreement was reached at this time, but their respective teams look forward to meeting in the future.”
South Korean stocks fell on the news that the summit’s schedule had been cut short.
Trump had repeatedly said at the start of Thursday’s talks that his relationship with Kim was strong, and that he expected that connection to eventually carry the two nuclear powers to an agreement.
Although both sides say they’ve been making progress in recent months, this round of top-level talks talks had focused on many of the same issues as last June’s Singapore summit.
Trump is pushing North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons as he dangles the prospect of an economic boost to the repressive country. Kim wants to see sanctions eased without losing the strategic benefits of his weapons of mass destruction.
The U.S. president had emphasized that he was willing to take his time on the talks as long as progress was being made.
“No rush. No rush. No rush. There’s no rush, we just want to do the right deal. Chairman Kim and myself we want to do the right deal. Speed is not important, what’s important is that we do the right deal,” Trump told reporters at the start of the Thursday talks.