US President Donald Trump, a self-proclaimed “dealmaker,” has cut short his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the Vietnamese capital as the they fail to strike a denuclearization deal.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Thursday that denuclearization talks between the two leaders would end early and Trump would soon return to his hotel in Hanoi.
“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 White House said in a statement.
Both leaders were seen separately leaving the Metropole Hotel, where the summit was being held. No further joint meetings between them were announced.
Sanders also announced that the US president’s news conference, which was originally due to be held at 4pm (0900 GMT) local time had been moved up to 2pm.
Trump says he had to walk away
During the presser, a downbeat Trump told reporters that “he had to walk away” from the talks because of North Korea’s demands to lift all economic sanctions against Pyongyang as a prerequisite to denuclearization.
“Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, but we couldn’t do that … we had to walk away from it,” Trump said.
“You always have to be prepared to walk,” Trump said, describing the two-day summit as very productive. “We had papers ready to be signed, it just wasn’t appropriate.”
Trump, the author of The Art of the Deal, said North Korea was willing to make some concessions but not in areas Washington had hoped for.
“I’d much rather do it right than do it fast,” he added.
The American president noted that Kim vowed not to resume nuclear or ballistic missile testing, something he had described in the past as a yardstick for success.
Reiterating their “close relationship,” Trump said he looked forward to a third summit with Kim but didn’t give any date.
“We just like each other… there’s a warmth that we have and I hope that stays, I think it will,” said Trump.
Trump in ‘no rush’
The American head of state said earlier that he was in “no rush” to seal a deal over North Korea’s nuclear program, downplaying raised expectations of a swift breakthrough in his second set of high-stakes talks with Kim in Vietnam, some eight months after their first historic get-together in Singapore.
The two leaders commenced their two-day summit over the so-called denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula at the five-star Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi on Wednesday.
Both Trump and Kim show apparent diplomatic bromance since their first meeting in June last year, before which they had experienced an acrimonious relationship, calling each other names and threatening military action against their countries.
On Thursday, the second day of formal talks, both leaders expressed cautious optimism on reaching an agreement, and urged patience.
US President Donald Trump has started his summit with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.
Trump stressed that he was in “no rush” to secure a deal with Kim and that he was repeating “from the beginning that speed was not that important” to him as long as the Pyongyang’s halt in ballistic missile and nuclear testing “continued.”
“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,” the American president said, as they sat down for discussions in Hanoi.
In their first meeting, Trump and Kim broadly agreed to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. But, while North Korea had already taken several measures to show its goodwill, subsequent diplomacy was sluggish as the US refused to offer sanctions relief.
Kim, for his part, said that despite some skepticism regarding the fruitfulness of the Hanoi summit, he pledged to seek “great, ultimately good results.”
“I think watching us have a great time will be like watching a scene from a fantasy movie,” he added.
When asked whether he was willing to denuclearize, Kim said, “If I’m not willing to do that I wouldn’t be here right now.”
He also expressed openness towards having a US liaison office in North Korea. The two countries currently have no diplomatic ties.