No agreement was reached between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at their two-day summit in Hanoi, said the White House on Thursday (Feb 28).
Trump and Kim had “very good and constructive meetings”, said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders in a statement.
“The two leaders discussed various ways to advance denuclearisation and economic driven concepts. No agreement was reached at this time, but their respective teams look forward to meeting in the future,” she added.
Trump and Kim left the venue of their talks, the French-colonial-era Metropole hotel, at 1.25pm local time, with no public signing ceremony after a morning of closed-door talks.
A working lunch scheduled to take place after the leaders’ discussions was also cut from the programme at the last minute, and Trump moved up his press conference by two hours.
Earlier Kim and Trump, seated across from each other at a conference table, appeared confident of progress.
“If I’m not willing to do that, I won’t be here right now,” Kim told reporters through an interpreter, when asked if he was ready to give up his nuclear weapons.
Trump, responding to that, said: “That might be the best answer you’ve ever heard.”
The second meeting between the two leaders was supposed to build on their historic first summit in Singapore last June.
In Singapore, the two signed a vague document in which Kim pledged to “work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”.
Progress subsequently stalled with the two sides disagreeing on what that means, as the North sought relief from sanctions and Washington pressed for concrete steps towards it giving up its weapons.
Before the summit in Hanoi, 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.
There were also hopes Kim could pledge to destroy North Korea’s decades-old Yongbyon nuclear complex, which has long been at the heart of Pyongyang’s atomic development but remains shrouded in secrecy – and North Korea has promised to mothball it twice before.
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.
“Today, I am here to tell the truth about Mr Trump,” Cohen told the nationally-televised hearing.
“He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat,” who inflated his assets when it suited him “and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes”, Cohen said.