HANOI, Vietnam – President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong abruptly cut short their second nuclear summit Thursday in Hanoi, Vietnam without reaching an agreement.
Both of the leaders left the summit within minutes of each other after canceling a lunch and a planned signing ceremony.
In a news conference after a private meeting with Kim Jong Un, President Trump said the negotiations collapsed due to North Korea's insistence that the US lift every single punishing sanction it has imposed against the regime. Pyongyang also refused to eliminate its entire nuclear arsenal.
“Sometimes you have to walk,” Trump explained, adding that an agreement was “ready to sign.”
“I’d much rather do it right than do it fast,” the president said. “We’re in position to do something very special.”
The breakdown came after Kim signaled he was ready to denuclearize and told reporters before formal talks with Trump, "If I'm not willing to do that I won't be here right now."
However, Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Pyongyang demanded a one-sided deal. The president said the summit ended on a good note but that there are no current plans for a third summit.
At their first summit last June, both leaders signed the Singapore Declaration. The goal was to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. However, it was just a framework lacking in details.
Trump's critics in the US said he needed to secure specific commitments from Kim in the second summit. They argue more is needed from North Korea than a temporary halt in nuclear testing and the return of American hostages.
Bruce Klingner, senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at the Heritage Foundation's Asian Studies Center, said, "We need to have North Korea take the first steps to convince us to that they've changed their behavior, that they're willing to come into compliance with the international community."
The Washington Times Chief Foreign Correspondent Guy Taylor appeared on CBN's Faith Nation Wednesday live from Hanoi, Vietnam to talk about the president's trip and this second historic summit. Watch the interview below.
Analyst Jonathan Schanzer from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies warns the US should be careful not to fall for North Korea's tricks. In the past, Kim and his father convinced the West to lift sanctions, but once economic sanctions were lifted they resumed nuclear development and missile testing.
"If you look at history with our dealings with North Korea. It's like the old Peanut's cartoon. It's like Lucy and the football. She holds the football and Charlie Brown comes to kick the field goal and falls right on his back. We have to make sure we can verify that they've denuclearized and they halt other activities whether it's cyber or human rights violations. All those things that we've been concerned about with North Korea for all these years. We need to verify this stuff has stopped before we could give them what they're looking for," he said.
Vietnam was a strategic venue for this summit. Like North Korea, it's a communist country. But unlike North Korea, it has experienced rapid economic growth and prosperity because it has embraced elements of free-market capitalism and friendship with the West. Trump says North Korea could have the same success as Vietnam.
"We both felt very good about having this very important summit in Vietnam because you really are an example of what can happen with good thinking," Trump said before the summit.
He said North Korea would benefit economically if it gives up its nuclear weapons, tweeting: "Vietnam is thriving like few places on earth. North Korea would be the same, and very quickly if it would denuclearize. The potential is AWESOME, a great opportunity, like almost none other in history, for my friend Kim Jong Un. We will know fairly soon - Very interesting!"
Once enemies, Vietnam and the United States are now friends. One Vietnamese shopkeeper told CBN News he hopes his country's example will prove to Kim Jong Un that peace and friendship with the United States can lead to economic prosperity. "Peace is good for business," he said.