Trump, N.Korea's Kim end Vietnam summit with no agreement

Trump, in a news conference after the abrupt end to the talks, said the breakdown occurred over North Korea's insistence that all punishing sanctions the USA had imposed on North Korea be lifted without Pyongyang committing to eliminate its entire nuclear arsenal.

"I very much appreciate no testing of nuclear rockets, missiles, any of it, very much appreciate it", Trump told reporters as he and Kim sat at a round table in the French-colonial-era Metropole hotel before their session.

But after Kim told a reporter that if he was not ready to denuclearise he "wouldn't be here", the United States leader responded: "That might be the best answer you've ever heard".

A working lunch was underway between the two leaders in Vietnam on Thursday afternoon, after a whirlwind day on Capitol Hill that threatened to steal the spotlight from the second major summit between the two leaders.

They responded to questions from reporters at about 11 a.m. local time.

When asked by reporters afterwards if he would allow a United States liaison office in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, Mr Kim said it was something he would "welcome".

"We've developed something very special with respect to that".

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told a congressional panel last month that North Korea "has halted its provocative behavior" by refraining from missile tests and nuclear tests for more than a year. Asked again if he's willing to take concrete denuclearization steps, Kim said, "That is what we are discussing right now".

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.

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The North Korean leader struck a largely hopeful note, saying "I believe by intuition that good results will be produced".

Later in the afternoon, Kim took more questions.

Well, I want to just say it's an honor to be with Chairman Kim.

Facing increasing political and legal pressure at home over investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election, Trump has devoted significant time and effort to trying to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons in exchange for promises of peace and development, a foreign policy goal that has confounded multiple predecessors. Trump declared it "not a bad idea" and Kim called it "welcomable".

The South Korean President who has prioritized improving relations with the North, is desperate for a breakthrough in nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang so he can continue his ambitious drive for inter-Korean engagement.

And as I've said many times - and I say it to the press, I say it to anybody that wants to listen: I think that your country has tremendous economic potential. Korea Summit held in Singapore in June a year ago.

The two leaders then retired to begin their negotiations privately but were photographed shortly afterward walking on the Metropole hotel's pool patio, where they were joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean official Kim Yong Chol.

This is why critics continuously express concerns over "small deal" that Trump, who is aiming for re-election two years later, will step back from the North Korea's FFVD and exchange economic support for a 'freeze of the existing nuclear and missile facilities'.

But reporters didn't get opportunities to ask questions of Kim during his three summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his four meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

  • Sonia Alvarado