President Donald Trump walked away from the negotiating table with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un on Thursday in Vietnam after Kim reportedly demanded that the U.S. lift all economic sanctions on North Korea without first agreeing to any kind of serious commitment to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
“Trump said the summit fell through after the North demanded a full removal of U.S.-led international sanctions in exchange for the shuttering of the North’s Yongbyon nuclear facility,” Fox News‘ Gregg Re reported. “Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters that the United States wasn’t willing to make a deal without the North committing to giving up its secretive nuclear facilities outside Yongbyon as well as its missile and warheads program.”
“I’ve been saying very much from the beginning that speed is not that important to me,” Trump said earlier on Thursday, prior to the talks falling through. “Speed is not important to me. What is important is that we do the right deal.”
CNBC noted: “Trump is pushing North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons as he dangles the prospect of an economic boost to the repressive country. Kim wants to see sanctions eased or lifted — but without losing the strategic benefits of his weapons of mass destruction.”
During a post-summit news conference, after talks fell apart, Trump said: “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, and we’ll see where that goes.”
“Sometimes you have to walk, and this was just one of those times,” Trump added.
When pressed for details about why the talks fell through at the post-summit news conference, Trump said: “Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn’t do that. 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.”
“(Kim) wants to de-nuke, but he wants to just do areas that are less important than the areas that we want. We know the country very well, believe it or not, we know every inch of that country,” Trump continued. “You always have to be prepared to walk. I could have 100 percent signed something today — we actually had papers ready to be signed — but it just wasn’t appropriate. I want to do it right: I’d much rather do it right than do it fast.”
Following the summit’s early ending, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders released the following statement:
President Donald J. Trump of the United States and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had very good and constructive meetings in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27-28, 2019. 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.