In Brief

Why Trump/Kim summit was cut short with no deal

US President says talks failed over Kim’s demands to lift sanctions ‘in their entirety’

US President Donald Trump has told reporters that he “had to walk away” from a historic Vietnam summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un without reaching an agreement on nuclear disarmament.

Confusion reigned in Hanoi yesterday, after the scheduled end of the talks between the two leaders was moved forward by two hours and a planned joint signing ceremony was cancelled.

Optimism had been boosted prior to their meeting when Kim said he would not be at the summit if he were not prepared to denuclearise.

But Trump told media today that Pyongyang had pushed for all sanctions against the country to be lifted in return for closing down its nuclear facilities.

“They wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, but we couldn’t do that,” the president said, adding: “Sometimes you have to walk.”

“They were willing to denuke a large portion of the areas that we wanted, but we couldn’t give up all of the sanctions for that. We had to walk away from that.”

However, Trump dismissed any notion of increasing sanctions against Pyongyang, pointing to the impact that such a move would have on North Korean citizens.

"There are people in North Korea that have to live also... I would say my whole attitude changed a lot because I got to know Chairman Kim very well," he said.

He also stressed that his relationship with Kim remained “very strong” and hinted that talks could resume at a later date.

“I want to keep the relationship - we'll see what happens over the next period of time,” the president said.

Meanwhile, the North Korean dictator “remained more vague on whether he would be able to strike a deal with Trump”, reports Euronews.

"It's too early to tell, but I wouldn't say I'm pessimistic. For what I feel right now, I do have a feeling that good results will come out," Kim said, in what is believed to be his first ever response to a question from a foreign journalist.

Despite the pleasantries between the two leaders, the curtailed summit is viewed as a significant failure by regional experts.

Leonid Petrov, an academic at Canberra’s Australian National University, said the breakdown of talks exposed the “yawning chasm” between the goals of the two nations.

Chad O'Carroll, of the Korea Risk Group consultancy firm, said the collapse is a "very bad outcome" for Trump. The impasse with Washington DC “could result in Kim Jong Un forging even closer ties with China” and also stymies inter-Korean peace efforts, O'Carroll added.

The South Korean government, which is keenly invested in the process, has said the failure to reach a deal is "disappointing", the BBC reports.

The broadcaster’s Seoul correspondent Laura Bicker says that the “lack of progress or plan to get Kim Jong Un to give up his weapons will allow critics to ask what is the point”.

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