Donald Trump says the North Korea summit collapsed on Thursday because Kim Jong Un demanded a total reversal of sanctions in exchange for a too few nuclear site closures.
Trump told a press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, that Kim “wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn’t do that.”
US President Donald Trump (R) and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un hold a meeting during the second US-North Korea summit at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi on February 28, 2019. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Kim offered up some nuclear sites in exchange, but not enough for Trump.
“They were willing to give us areas but not the ones we wanted,” he said.
Trump said that they discussed the eradication of North Korea’s main nuclear facility — Yongbyon — during talks, and that Kim said he was willing to shut it down.
US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference following the second US-North Korea summit in Hanoi on February 28, 2019. – The nuclear summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Hanoi ended without an agreement on February 28, the White House said after the two leaders cut short their discussions. MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images
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During the talks Trump said Kim had promised North Korea would continue to hold off testing nuclear missiles.
“Mr Kim said the testing will not start, on rockets, missiles, all I can tell you is that’s what he said.”
This combination of pictures created on November 12, 2018 shows North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un(L) during the Inter-Korean summit in the Peace House building on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom on April 27, 2018, and US President Donald Trump during a post-election press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on November 7, 2018. – North Korea is operating at least 13 undeclared bases to hide mobile, nuclear-capable missiles, a new study released November 12, 2018 has found, raising fresh doubts over US President Donald Trump’s signature foreign policy initiative. Trump has hailed his July summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as having opened the way to denuclearization of the divided peninsula, defusing tensions that less than a year ago brought the two countries to the brink of conflict. KOREA SUMMIT PRESS POOL,MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
When it became clear the talks had ended in a stalemate, Trump said: “Sometimes you have to walk and this was one of those times.”
During talks Trump said he and Kim “had some options and this time we decided not to do any of the options.”
According to an earlier White House schedulek, the two leaders were expected to enact a “Joint Agreement Signing Ceremony,” but that was abandoned. After the press conference, Trump went straight to the airport and flew away in Air Force One.
“We haven’t given up anything, and frankly think we’ll end up becoming very good friends,” Trump said.
Read the full list of US sanctions on North Korea here.
North Korea has around 12 nuclear sites, according to the Nuclear Threat Initiative.