Kim-Trump summit ‘fail’ over North Korea’s demands to lift sanctions

by Choi He-suk, Korea Herald – Asia News Network

US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un’s summit ended abruptly with both sides failing to reach an agreement.

The second day of talks kicked off at 9 am yesterday at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi but the event was cut short when Kim and Trump departed at 1:25 pm.

The two were scheduled to have a working lunch then hold a joint ‘agreement’ signing ceremony around 2pm. Both were cancelled and replaced with a media conference with the US President.

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“Basically they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn’t do that. They were willing to denuke a large portion of the areas that we wanted, but we couldn’t give up all of the sanctions for that,” said Trump.

“But we had to walk away from that particular suggestion.”

He said that although the two sides had an agreement ready to be signed, he was not prepared to sign, as conditions were unsatisfactory.

Before the summit began US news outlets citing unnamed sources from the Trump administration saying the two sides had reached an agreement.

The agreement would have declared the ‘official’ end of the Korean War and the US agreeing to a partial lifting of sanctions. In return the North would halt operations of their nuclear facilities.

Trump, however, stressed a number of times at the press conference that dialogue with the North has not ended, and that his relationship with Kim remains strong despite the talks falling apart.

Trump took off from Hanoi just before 4pm and reportedly spoke via phone to South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The call lasted for about 25 minutes.

Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom says, “Moon (South Korean President) said that he hopes for good results in the follow-up negotiations as the leaders confirmed each other’s positions, and discussed detailed elements (of denuclearisation negotiations),” .

The Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson also said that Moon promised his full support in Washington’s dealings with Pyongyang.

At Trump’s press conference, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also stressed that significant progress has been made despite failing to reach an agreement, and again voiced optimism for future talks.

“We made big progress, and indeed we made even more progress when the two leaders met over the last 24, 36 hours,” Pompeo said during Trump’s press conference. He added that US and North Korean working-level officials will resume negotiations in the future.

Pompeo also revealed that Kim was unwilling to accept conditions put forward by the US. Highlighting that negotiators have been aware that the issue will take time, he said that officials are better equipped now to deal with the matter at hand.

SOURCE: The Korea Herald

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