by WorldTribune Staff, February 28, 2019
U.S. President Donald Trump said talks in Vietnam with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un collapsed after Kim had demanded sanctions relief in return for shutting down some, but not all, of the North’s nuclear sites.
“Basically they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn’t do that,” Trump told reporters. “They were willing to de-nuke a large portion of the areas that we want, but we couldn’t give up all of the sanctions for that.”
Trump told reporters that he walked out of the talks, “but not in anger.”
“It was very good, very friendly. This wasn’t a walkaway like you get up and walk out. No, this was very friendly. We shook hands. You know, there is a warmth that we have and I hope that stays. I think it will,” Trump said.
Trump said he had “papers ready to sign,” but the he’d “rather do it right” than do it fast. “We had some options and at this time we decided not to do any of the options. And we’ll see where that goes. It was a very interesting two days, and I think actually it was a very productive two days. But sometimes you have to walk, and this was one of those times.”
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho Gives said at a press conference in Hanoi that, when the U.S. insisted on a further step beyond dismantlement of the Yongbyon nuclear site, “it became crystal clear that the U.S. was not ready to accept our proposal.”
“Our proposal will never be changed even though the United States proposes negotiations again in the future,” Ris said.
Trump said that Kim had promised to continue his moratorium on missile and nuclear weapon testing. On that point, Trump said, “I trust him.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that “I wish we would have gotten a little bit further, but I’m very optimistic.”
Trump also said he believed Kim when the North Korean dictator said he was not aware of the mistreatment of American college student Otto Warmbier, who died in 2017 after returning from North Korea. He was released from a North Korean prison in a vegetative state.
“In those prisons and camps, you have a lot of people, and some really bad things happened to Otto,” Trump said. “Some really, really bad things. But [Kim] tells me that he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word.”
“I don’t believe that he would have allowed that to happen, just wasn’t to his advantage to allow that to happen,” Trump said of Kim. “Those prisons are rough places. They’re rough places, and bad things happened. But I really don’t believe that he was – I don’t believe he knew about it.” Kim, the president added, “felt badly about it.”