Source: Daily Mail
Donald Trump’s talks with Kim Jong-un ended abruptly on Thursday as the president said he was forced to walk away after the North Korean dictator demanded that all sanctions were lifted in return for giving up only some of his nukes.
Trump told reporters the final snag that caused the sudden breakdown was over sanctions – and Kim’s push to have all of them lifted in exchange for a concession Trump and his secretary of state could not live with.
‘Sometimes you have to walk away,’ Trump told reporters, explaining his decision.
Meanwhile, the president blasted longtime fixer Michael Cohen, saying he ‘lied’ after his former lawyer delivered bombshell testimony. The president mostly avoided the topic by calling on a series of members of the foreign press corps he did not recognize rather than White House reporters preparing to quiz him on the crimes Cohen claims he witnessed.
Trump said that he remains on good terms with Kim and continued to tout the ‘enormous potential’ of North Korea, not notably said there were no plans for a next summit meeting.
Trump candidly revealed that Kim wanted the sanctions off, but was not willing to give up his array of nukes, missiles, and sites he only alluded to vaguely.
‘Basically they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn’t do that,’ the president said. ‘They were willing to de-nuke a large portion of the areas that we wanted but we couln’t give up all of the sacntions for that.
‘We had to walk away from that particularly suggestion. We had to walk away from that,’ Trump said.
‘It was about sanctions. They wanted sanctions lifted but they weren’t willing to do an area that we wanted,’ Trump said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added: ‘We have been working for weeks to find a path forward so we could make a big step at this summit.
‘We made progress and even more progress when the two leaders met over the last 48, or 72 hours.
‘But we didn’t get all the way. We didn’t get something that made sense for the United States.’
Both Trump and Pompeo said there was a willingness on both sides to keep talking, but revealed that no follow-up summit has been scheduled.
Trump said that in the meantime, Kim was ‘not going to do testing of rockets and nuclear. I trust him and I take him at his word.’
He indicated that Kim was willing to make concessions related to the Yongbyon facility where his regime enriches Plutonium, but it wasn’t enough.
‘That facility while very big, it wasn’t enough to do what we were doing. We had to have more than that,’ said Trump.
Trump said that Kim was willing to dismantle the Yongbyon nuclear research facility if the US lifted sanctions, but said Kim was unwilling to make a deal on other facilities and weapons, forcing an end to the talks.
Asked whether it was premature to hold the summit now, Trump said he would ‘much rather do it right than do it fast’ and added that he ‘could have signed something today’ but didn’t feel it was the right deal.
But America and North Korea remain in a position ‘to do something very special’ together, he said.
The recognition that no joint statement had been reached came despite weeks of advance negotiation. A range of compromise gestures had been circulating for days in media reports.
The lack of agreement came after Trump repeatedly hailed a ‘special relationship’ between the two men, and stressed their personal bond as a reason progress might be possible.
After the two men’s historic summit in Singapore in June, they both signed a joint statement – although critics blasted it for failing to include a timetable or verification members in its undefined call for denuclearization.
On Thursday afternoon, Sanders suddenly told reporters traveling with the president before 1 pm local time that talks would wrap up within about half an hour, throwing the event’s schedule into turmoil.
She declined to say initial there would be a signing ceremony, though one had been on an earlier White House schedule. Only minutes before Trump was scheduled to face the press did she acknowledge that there would not be one.
But reporters who were on hand to cover it were relocated to buses – indicating that the event was most likely scrapped.
The public White House schedule has listed a ‘Joint Agreement Signing Ceremony’ with the chairman of the state affairs commission of DPRK, set for 2:05 pm local time.
Trump was to have fielded questions at 4 pm, right before leaving Vietnam, but it got moved up to 2 pm.
A planned lunch between the two men was scrapped so they could ‘keep negotiating,’ Bloomberg News reported.
The U.S. dollar and South Korean stock market both fell on the news that no deal had been reached.
The multiple signs of tension came after a public event hours earlier where the two leaders once again smiled for the cameras – and Kim even took a few questions from U.S. media and expressed openness toward a step in normalization of relations.
The North Korean dictator said he is open to the idea of a US liaison office in Pyongyang in a major development during the historic nuclear summit with President Donald Trump.
Kim revealed his stance on the issue – one of several negotiating points in Hanoi – when the absolute leader submitted to a few unscripted questions from American media members.
In another comment, he revealed his stated disposition on denuclearization – although without saying what it would take to get him there.
‘If I was not, I wouldn’t be here,’ he said in his native Korean, while seated alongside Trump.
The two world leaders resumed their summit in Hanoi on Thursday morning local time – as Trump predicted a ‘fantastic success’ but Kim said it was ‘too early’ to say they would reach a deal.
Trump once again asserted that he was in ‘no rush’ to make an agreement – following an early report by NBC that the US was prepared to back away from a demand that North Korea provide a full accounting of its nuclear weapons programs.
‘I think we’ll be together a lot over the years,’ Trump said. ‘I can’t speak for today but over a little bit longer term .. we’re going to have a fantastic success.’
During an exchange with the media, a reporter asked Kim if he was ready for a U.S. liaison office in Pyongyang – considered a step toward normalization of relations. At first a North Korean aide tried to cut him off, but Trump – who has tangled with the press – intervened.
‘That’s actually an interesting question. I would like to actually hear that answer,’ Trump said.
Kim responded: ‘That is something that is welcomeable.’
Trump then said the idea was a ‘great thing.’
A reporter asked Kim in Korean if he was confident of an agreement. Kim responded in Korean: ”It’s too early to say. I would not say I’m pessimistic.’
‘I have a feeling that good results will come,’ Kim added.
Trump also predicted spending more time with the North Korean dictator.
‘And, I’m sure over the years we’ll be together a lot, and I think we’ll also be together after the fact, meaning after the deal is made. We had very good discussions last night at dinner, and the pre-dinner was very good. And, there were a lot of great ideas being thrown about,’ Trump said.
Trump once again called the relationship between the two men ‘very strong’.
‘So, I can’t speak necessarily for today, but I can say that this, a little bit longer term, and over a period of time, I know we’re going to have a fantastic success with respect to Chairman Kim and North Korea. They’re going to have an economic powerhouse.’
Trump predicted: ‘I think it’s going to be something very special.’
‘I am in no rush. We don’t want the testing, and we’ve developed something very special with respect to that,’ Trump said, without revealing details, as the two men moved toward an expected joint statement.
At one point after their first meeting Wednesday, the two men took a stroll by the hotel pool, with photographers ready to capture the moment.
They walked along with two interpreters beneath palm trees as Kim greeted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and general and spy chief Kim Yong Chol. Reporters covering the event passed National Security Advisor John Bolton, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, and Trump aide Dan Scanino, who didn’t appear to be joining the second meeting with staff.
Trump was back to trying his hand at diplomacy after the president’s ex-fixer Michael Cohen dominated headlines with his day of bombshell testimony against his former boss.
Cohen’s appearances have shadowed the president’s appearances, and Trump even tweeted to attack his longtime fixer as a ‘liar’ shortly before he delivered bombshell testimony in the Capitol claiming Trump participated in a criminal conspiracy involving the hush payment to Stormy Daniels.
Trump and Kim met for their second time at the French colonial-era Metropole hotel, where they had dined Wednesday night.