At 2 a.m. EST early Thursday, President Donald Trump addressed the media from Hanoi, Vietnam, after the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un came to abrupt end. There was supposed to be a scheduled lunch followed a signing ceremony, but neither happened as Trump and Kim were unable to reach an agreement.
“Sometimes, you have to walk,” Trump announced. “And this is just one of those times.”
Trump is pushing for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons while Kim wants sanctions softened without forgoing the strategic advantage of having weapons of mass destruction. And while things looked promising, Kim even spoke with foreign reporters for the first time, talking through a translator about the possibility of denuclearization he said, “If I’m not willing to do that … I won’t be here right now.”
“Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn’t do that,” Trump said. “They were willing to de-nuke a large portion of the areas that we wanted, but we couldn’t give up all of the sanctions for that. So we continue to work and we’ll see, but we had to walk away from that particular suggestion. We had to walk away from that.”
Trump described the talks as productive and insisted that the summit didn’t end early in haste. “It wasn’t a good thing to be signing anything. We had some options, and at this time we decided not to do any of the options.”
As to whether is friendship with Kim was in peril, Trump insisted there was nothing to worry about, referring to the North Korean leader as “quite a character and quite a guy. I think we’ll end up being very good friends,” he said. And even though White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the “respective teams look forward to meeting in the future,” as of now, there are no plans for a third summit.
Trump told reporters that the gap between America and North Korea would soon be bridged “with time” and said, “We know the country very well, believe it or not, we know every inch of that country.” He also insisted, “There will be no more testing of rockets and nuclear. I trust [Kim] and take him at his word.
American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assisted Trump in addressing the media, saying that the U.S. did everything they could to lay out a clear foundation prior to the meeting so that a deal could be imminent.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t get all the way,” Pompeo said. “We didn’t get to something that ultimately made sense for the United States of America. I think Chairman Kim was hopeful that we would. We asked him to do more and he was unprepared to do that.”
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