Vastavam web: The nuclear summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Hanoi ended without an agreement Thursday, the White House said after the two leaders cut short their discussions. They had “very good and constructive meetings” and “discussed various ways to advance denuclearisation and economic driven concepts”, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
But she went on: “No agreement was reached at this time,” adding that their “respective teams look forward to meeting in the future,” No joint communique was issued, despite high expectations beforehand for progress. In the original White House programme, a “Joint Agreement Signing Ceremony” was scheduled as well as a working lunch for the two leaders. In the event, both men left the summit venue without a public signing ceremony and Trump moved up his news conference by two hours, sparking doubts about the progress made at the summit.
From the outset, Trump had appeared to downplay expectations of an immediate breakthrough in nuclear talks, saying he was in “no rush” to clinch a rapid deal and was content if a pause in missile testing continued. He frequently dangled the prospect of a brighter economic future for a nuclear-free North Korea, at one point saying there was “AWESOME” potential. As in Singapore, the two men put on a show of bonhomie, appeared to share jokes in front of reporters.
Looking relaxed but appearing to say little, they indulged in a poolside stroll Thursday around the gardens of the luxury Metropole Hotel, a colonial-era building that has played host to stars ranging from Charlie Chaplin to Brad Pitt. In apparently unprecedented scenes, Kim answered unscripted questions from foreign reporters, saying that he would welcome the establishment of a US liaison office in Pyongyang, which would be a step on the way to diplomatic normalisation.
The Pyongyang strongman is looking for relief from sanctions imposed on the North because of its weapons programmes, which saw tensions soar in 2017 before a wave of detente. He said there were “people who hold a sceptical view of our meeting” but pledged to seek “great, ultimately good results”.”I think watching us have a great time will be like watching a scene from a fantasy movie,” he added. Before the summit, there was talk that there could be a political declaration ending the 1950-53 Korean War which finished technically with an armistice rather than a peace treaty. A patent distraction from the summit was a scandal back home in Washington with Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen calling him a “racist” and a “conman” during a congressional hearing.