Talks between Trump and Kim break down with no agreement

Lim Chang-won Reporter() | Posted : Febuary 28, 2019, 16:19 | Updated : Febuary 28, 2019, 16:19

[Reuters/Yonhap News Photo스]

HANOI -- Talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam collapsed as they left the dialogue table without reaching agreements, heralding a tougher process ahead in realizing denuclearization. 

Trump and Kim had "very good and constructive meetings" in Hanoi, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement, adding the two sides "look forward to meeting again" in the future.

"The two leaders discussed various ways to advance denuclearization and economic driven concepts. No agreement was reached at this time, but their respective teams look forward to meeting in the future," Sanders said. No reason for the absence of agreement was given.

The statement was issued after Kim and Trump left the conference hall in a Hanoi hotel without having their scheduled working lunch and a deal-signing ceremony. The unexpected breakdown of talks in Hanoi underlines difficulties in achieving denuclearization.

There has been a dispute over how much Washington's demand for the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization (CVID) should be reflected in a nuclear deal. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has insisted that Washington would make sure to verify any dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear program.

The landmark summit in Singapore opened a new era of peace between the two Cold War adversaries and a rare detente on the Korean peninsula. After Kim committed to working for "complete denuclearization" in exchange for Washington's security guarantees, Trump suspended joint war games between U.S. and South Korean troops to facilitate a nuclear deal.

However, Trump's failure to codify a long-standing U.S. demand for CVID in his Singapore agreement has stoked worries about Pyongyang's possible retreat. In a series of ensuing negotiations, Washington and Pyongyang actually have failed to narrow differences in particulars.

For many years, the U.S. and the international community have put strict sanctions against Pyongyang, demanding complete and swift denuclearization. The war of nerves between Pyongyang and Washington has intensified since Trump took office in early 2017 with the two leaders tussling until the last moment over denuclearization.

Although Kim is willing to dismantle nuclear facilities and nuclear weapons, the defiant young leader may not give them away for free. Kim wants more than U.S. cooperation and rewards such as partially lifting economic sanctions. In previous negotiations, North Korea has been reluctant to make concessions without strong U.S. commitments to tangible economic and diplomatic benefits.

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