After President Trump refused to lift sanctions on North Korea in return for a shutdown of one of that country’s nuclear facilities, talks between Trump and Kim Jong Un were abruptly ended on Thursday. The two nations thus failed to reach a nuclear deal during the second summit between Trump and Kim.
The president said, “sometimes you have to walk.”
The negotiations in Hanoi, Vietnam stalled over North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s demand that the U.S. lift its aggressive sanctions on the dictatorial regime. Kim offered to shut down his nuclear facility in Yongbyon, but did not address other secret facilities throughout the country.
“It was about the sanctions,” Trump told reporters in a hastily called press conference. “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.”
Trump and Kim did not participate in a working lunch or a signing ceremony as planned, and the White House released an official statement indicating that the two world leaders were unable to reach a deal:
President Donald J. Trump of the United States and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had very good and constructive meetings in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27-28, 2019. The two leaders discussed various ways to advance denuclearization and economic driven concepts. No agreement was reached at this time, but their respective teams look forward to meeting in the future.
The summit had been highly anticipated after Trump announced that he would sit down with Kim to further the peace process. Washington and Pyongyang had been working behind the scenes to draft an agreement that the two leaders were expected to sign on the second day of the conference.
The president was optimistic before the meeting, stating that he expected to have a “very successful” summit where the two nations would come to a viable denuclearization agreement. “We made a lot of progress and I think our biggest progress was our relationship is really a good one,” he said of the first meeting.
Kim also expressed his hopes, saying that he believed the two nations could move past previous hostilities. “I hope that we can provide an outcome that is welcome to everyone and I am sure that we can do this.”
The first meeting was viewed as a preliminary conversation to set the tone for the rest of the negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang. The agreement that the two leaders signed after their initial summit contained high-level stipulations without defining exactly what actions both parties were to take. This second summit, on the other hand, had been expected to yield an accord with more specific guidelines. But it never materialized, and now both sides will go back to the drawing board.