US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Thursday wrapped up their second summit in Hanoi to discuss Pyongyang’s nuclear disarmament without reaching an agreement.
Trump announced that he had decided to leave because of differences over sanctions.
The aim of the summit was to define a clearer content of the commitments made at the first Singapore summit in June.
Trump and Hanoi signed a joint declaration on “denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula”, but the two sides have since differed on how to interpret it.
“Sometimes you have to leave and that was one of those times”, Trump told a news conference ahead of his departure from Hanoi.
He said talks had stalled over the economic sanctions imposed on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic programs.
“I wanted to go further”, he said, stressing at the same time that Pyongyang would not resume nuclear testing.
“He said he wouldn’t test missiles or anything related to a nuclear weapon”, Trump said, quoting the North Korean leader.
Trump and Kim spent months in an exchange of personal insults and threats, before moving on to expressing cordial sentiments.
The signs of disappointment on Trump appeared as expectations and hopes were too high.
The US president said there was no plan for a new summit.
The White House initially announced that it would hold a “joint signing ceremony” as well as a working lunch between Kim and Trump.
But the US president and the North Korean leader left without signing anything.
The White House said Kim and Trump “had very constructive meetings and discussed various ways to move forward on issues related to nuclear disarmament and the economy”, “but no agreement has been reached at the moment, but their teams look forward to meeting in the future”.
Trump spent more than 20 hours by plane to reach Hanoi. For his part, the North Korean leader took a two-and-a-half day train journey through China to attend the second meeting.
If Kim Jong-un spoke in Hanoi about the possibility of opening a permanent representative office for North Korea in the United States, the US president wasted hopes before the meeting of a breakthrough in the short term.
“I’m not in a hurry”, Trump told reporters.
“Speed is not so important to me”, he said, stressing that he wanted to reach a “good deal”.
Trump has repeatedly said that there is no need to rush to persuade North Korea to get rid of its nuclear weapons if it refrains, as it has been doing for more than a year, from firing rockets and conducting nuclear tests.
Kim Jong-un said he would not have come to Hanoi to hold a summit with the US president if he had not been prepared for nuclear disarmament but remained ambiguous for any possible concrete measures.
Trump is under pressure in this case where all his predecessors failed.
A diplomatic breakthrough to divert attention from what was happening in Washington, where his former attorney Michael Cohen testified before Congress, strongly condemned the president.
Trump responded Thursday by accusing him of “a lot of lies”.
Trump once again told his friend Kim Jong-un “huge economic development” if North Korea agrees to abandon its nuclear arsenal.
“Further, I know we’re going to have a great success with North Korea”, he said.
“It will be an economic force, with a little help in some places, I think it will be something very special”.
Since arriving in Vietnam, Trump has not stopped mentioning the communist country that built the market economy and folded the front page with the United States as a model.
“Vietnam is developing like a few other places in the world”, he tweeted.
“North Korea will do the same – very quickly – if it decides to disarm”, he added.
The United States has repeatedly called on North Korea to eliminate its nuclear weapons in full, verifiable and irreversible.
But in the eyes of North Korea, this issue must be broader.
It wants to lift the international sanctions that suffocate it and end what it sees as American threats – the military presence in South Korea and in the region in general.