On February 28th, the second Trump-Kim summit ended with no nuclear agreement.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also released a White House statement saying that the talks failed to produce an agreement.
“No agreement was reached at this time, but their respective teams look forward to meeting in the future,” the statement read. “The two leaders discussed various ways to advance denuclearization and economic driven concepts.”
US President Donald Trump flew back to the US.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un remains in Vietnam, where he is due to begin his official visit to the country on March 1st. He is also planned to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping along the way back to North Korea.
The meetings ended prematurely, the first sign that things were falling apart was that the two leaders were late for a scheduled lunch and reporters that were to cover the event were told that the two leaders would be heading to their hotels.
The table was set and food prepared for a working Trump-Kim lunch that now won’t happen. pic.twitter.com/0CMDpgIYBw
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) February 28, 2019
Trump’s press conference was brought forward by two hours, replacing what should have been a signing ceremony attended by both leaders.
No deals were signed.
— Department of State (@StateDept) February 28, 2019
Trump’s main phrase to sum up the conference was: “Sometimes you have to walk.” He said he remained optimistic for further progress in the future.
The major disagreement was over the lifting of sanctions. Kim is willing to dismantle the Yongbyon nuclear facility, says Trump, but wanted all sanctions lifted first, which Trump said he wasn’t willing to do.
Trump promised to phone South Korean President Moon Jae-in on his way back to the US, and also to brief Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the failed talks.
Trump insisted that he and Kim left the talks in a “friendly” spirit. Despite there being no future summits planned, negotiations would continue between the US and North Korean teams and he hoped he and Kim would meet again. “It might be soon. It might not be for a long time.”
Regarding a third summit, Trump had the following to say:
“I gave that up quite a while ago because it costs us $100 million to do it. I hated to see it. I thought it was unfair,” Trump said, saying South Korea should shoulder more of the costs. “Exercising is fun and it’s nice they play their war games. I’m not saying its not necessary. On some levels it is. On other levels it’s not.”
South Korean “Blue House,” released a Presidential statement expressing South Korean President Moon Jae-in concern of the failed talks.
“It is regrettable that President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un were unable to reach complete agreement at their summit today. However, it seems clear that they have made more meaningful progress than at any time prior.
We note that the two leaders have expanded the scope and depth of their understanding of each other’s positions through in-depth and long discussions.
In particular, President Trump’s expressed commitment to continuing talks and optimistic views brighten the prospects for another summit.
The fact that President Trump unveiled his intentions to lift or alleviate the sanctions on North Korea in accordance with its denuclearization measures shows that the discussions between North Korea and the United States have been raised to a new level.
We hope that the United States and North Korea will continue to have active dialogues on various levels going forward on the basis of the discussion results from this summit.
The Korean Government will do all it can to ensure that the United States and North Korea can maintain momentum for dialogue while continuing their close communication and cooperation.”
The Guardian cited experts, according to whom if the sanctions on North Korea were always the “make or break” of the nuclear agreement, this should have been obvious to the US before organizing a very public summit.
Well, if that was the offer, then yes, you have to walk. (But shouldn't we have known that this was the offer before organizing a second presidential summit?) https://t.co/Ql40WEfR90
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) February 28, 2019
One critical qu from the Hanoi no deal – why didn’t negotiators see this coming? Traditionally leaders only meet when most details in a deal are agreed, signing off the last few bits. Raises big questions about the whole US approach.
— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) February 28, 2019
The failed talks are possibly a notable setback, since they also freeze South Korean hopes of progress in terms of economy with the North. It also may push Kim Jong-un to seek a stronger relationship with China.