North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has pledged to again meet with President Donald Trump, this after their second summit in Vietnam came to an abrupt, disappointing end this week with no deal on denuclearization.
North Korea’s state media agency KCNA reported Kim’s vow for a third meeting, calling talks over the two-day summit “productive” and stating his appreciation for “active efforts toward results” made by Trump.
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) March 1, 2019
The two leaders met in Hanoi, Vietnam, for the two-day summit this week. On Thursday, the summit came to an abrupt end without the leaders settling on a deal, despite anticipation of a possible end-of-war declaration for the Korean War or a clear path toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
President Trump later told reporters that the meeting ended because of disagreements over sanctions.
“Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn’t do that,” Trump said. “Sometimes you have to walk, and this was one of those times.”
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said that Kim proposed a written commitment to end long-range missile testing and allow inspections of the country’s Yongbyon nuclear facility.
“This proposal was the biggest denuclearization measure we can take at the present stage in relation to the current level of confidence between the DPRK and the United States,” Ri said.
Ri argued that North Korea only wanted sanctions from 2016 and 2017 lifted, which would be five of 11 resolutions enacted by the United Nations.
A State Department official said the requested sanctions relief would have freed up “many, many billions of dollars” for North Korea. The 2016-2017 sanctions, in particular, are considered some of the harshest, and removing them would also remove some of Trump’s leverage in pursuing full denuclearization.
North Korea also reportedly refused to freeze its weapons program. Without the Yongbyon nuclear facility, they would still maintain a stockpile of missiles, warheads and other nuclear-related elements.
North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui told reporters the “U.S. not accepting our proposal is missing an opportunity that comes once in a thousand years,” according to Bloomberg.
Choe added that Kim was left confused by the U.S.’s calculations.
“I have a feeling that Chairman Kim may have lost the will” for further negotiations, Choe said.
Ri told reporters that Kim’s position “will never be changed” and that “it could be difficult to meet again.”
North Korean officials have been requesting the lifting of U.S. sanctions since the first Trump-Kim summit held in June 2018. It was there that the two leaders reached an agreement involving North Korea’s “complete and verifiable” denuclearization. But little progress has been made since then.
North Korea has maintained that the U.S. should be more lenient with economic sanctions and provide concessions in order for denuclearization talks to make further progress. The U.S. has continued to refuse to alleviate the sanctions, even in light of North Korea’s struggling economy.