Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un’s much-anticipated Vietnam summit came to a sudden halt after they disagreed heavily over the issue of sanctions.
The talks in Hanoi between the United States president and the North Korean leader broke down earlier than expected with no deal after Trump refused to lift all the sanctions based on what Kim proposed, as reported by The Guardian.
“It was about the sanctions 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,” Donald Trump said at a press conference in the Vietnamese capital.
He explained that the North Korean leader had offered to get rid of some parts of the country’s nuclear infrastructure, including the major Yongbyon nuclear complex, yet did not want to give away certain parts of the program like his covert uranium plants. Trump added that while the secluded country was willing to “denuke a large portion” of the targeted areas, the United States could not give up all the sanctions just based on that offer.
And while there is no specific plan for a third summit, their current agreement will carry on. North Korea will continue to suspend missile and nuclear tests, as they had previously agreed during their Singapore meeting in 2018. In exchange for that, America will not take part in any joint military exercises with South Korea, which Trump had already claimed was “unfair” as it costs “$100 million to do it.”
Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un appeared relaxed and friendly as they began a social dinner today in Hanoi. "Our relationship is a very special relationship," Trump said. https://t.co/12UPTKiFrs pic.twitter.com/mO0CBC7Fqq— CNN (@CNN) February 27, 2019
Despite the fact it might be a long time before the two men meet again, the U.S. president defended his relationship with Kim yet again, describing him as “quite a guy and quite a character” and claiming their link “is very strong.” Trump also argued that he believed Kim was truthful when claiming he didn’t know about the treatment of American student Otto Warmbier, who died on U.S. ground after being sent back home from North Korea in a critical health condition in June 2017.
“He says he didn’t know about it and I will take him at his word. Those prisons are rough. They’re rough places and bad things happen,” he said.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that the talks had ended mainly due to their differences over nuclear disarmament and sanctions relief. Trump added that the North Koreans were surprised to find out the Americans knew about the existence of covert nuclear facilities outside Yongbyon but refused to negotiate those. Following the press conference, both Trump and Kim left the summit venue and headed back to their Hanoi hotels.