No deal: Trump and Kim quit after day of hope
The Vietnam summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was abruptly cut short on Thursday after the two leaders could not come to an agreement on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Both men were expected to sit down for a lunch at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi before taking part in a joint agreement singing ceremony.
But the summit was suddenly called to an end as both teams packed up, got into their respective motorcades and left.
Trump then appeared at press briefing at 2:20 p.m. local time (2:20 a.m. in New York) and said, “We had a really productive time. We had some options. At this time, we decided not to do any of the options.”
He concluded, “Sometimes, you have to walk.”
Trump and Kim were expected to arrive for a working lunch at the Sofitel at about 12:35 p.m. local time (12:35 a.m. in New York). But the lunch was scrapped, with the menus already printed and the food prepared.
A press conference, scheduled for 3:50 p.m. local time was moved up to 2 p.m. as reporters scrambled to the Marriott in Hanoi, where Trump joined Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to issue his remarks.
The reversal was all the more shocking because both men were brimming with optimism earlier in the day.
Kim even said he was considering disbanding his rogue nation’s nuclear arsenal.
“If I’m not willing to do that, I wouldn’t be here right now,” he said.
“That might be the best answer you’ve ever heard,” Trump remarked.
The second day of talks started at about 9 a.m. local time Thursday. Trump told reporters as he sat across from Kim, “There’s no rush. We just want to do the right deal.”
Kim said that it was “too early to say” if a deal would be reached, but added, “I would not say I’m pessimistic. I have a feeling that good results will come.”
Kim also seemed open to allowing a US diplomatic office in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, calling the prospect “welcomeable.”
Trump said it was “a good idea.”
With Kim in Hanoi, his ruling party’s daily newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, printed a commentary vowing North Korea will stay the course the Kim family has set for the past three generations.
“The revolutionary cause of juche [self-reliance] and the cause of socialism are sure to triumph” under the guidance of the party and the people “who remain faithful to the cause of the party with indomitable mental power,” it said.
On Wednesday, the first day of the summit, Trump criticized reports saying he was tamping down expectations for the meeting, insisting that he and Kim would work toward agreeing to end North Korea’s nuclear program.
Trump also told Kim Wednesday that it was an “honor” to meet with him again. Their first summit, in Singapore, was last June.
“I think that your country has tremendous economic potential,” Trump went on. “Unbelievable. Unlimited. And I think that you will have a tremendous future with your country — a great leader. And I look forward to watching it happen and helping it to happen. And we will help it to happen.”
After Trump and Kim’s preliminary meeting Wednesday, they sat down with their advisers for a simple dinner: shrimp cocktail with Thousand Island dressing and diced avocado, grilled sirloin with kimchi fermented inside a pear, and, for dessert, “hot runny” chocolate lava cake with chocolate crumble and fresh berries and vanilla ice cream.
They also sipped on dried persimmon punch sweetened with honey.
At the dinner, Trump and Kim were joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, as well as two top-ranking North Koreans.
Trump softly touched Kim Jong-Un’s elbow at one point while teasing to the reporters on hand, “Boy, if you could have heard that dialogue, what you would pay for that dialogue. It was good.”
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