Trump walks away from deal with Kim over N.Korean sanction demands

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un's first encounter in Singapore left many ambiguities on the key question of denuclearisation. AFP  File  SAUL LOEB

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un's first encounter in Singapore left many ambiguities on the key question of denuclearisation. AFP File SAUL LOEB

-North Korean summit collapsed over a disagreement on sanctions.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un answered a question from the White House press pool for the first time on Thursday, ahead of a one-on-one meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi.

Moon has been active in efforts to end confrontation on the Korean peninsula, meeting Kim three times past year and trying to facilitate his nuclear negotiations with the United States.

"My administration will closely communicate and cooperate with the United States and North Korea so as to help their talks reach a complete settlement by any means", Moon said in a speech in Seoul.

There have also been discussions on partial denuclearization measures, including allowing worldwide inspectors to observe the dismantling of North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear complex.

Kim told reporters: "Hope you give us more time to talk".

Trump said Kim had promised him there would be no more.

Trump has repeatedly complained about the expense of the exercises and did so again after the Hanoi summit.

The Singapore summit, the first between a sitting USA president and a North Korean leader, produced a vague statement in which Kim pledged to work toward denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

The two leaders exchanged "many good ideas" over dinner the previous night, Trump said, but did not elaborate on the topics discussed. He said he had walked away because of unacceptable North Korean demands.

"Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn't do that", he said.

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While the United States has long demanded that North Korea give up all of its nuclear and missile programmes, the North wants to see the removal of a US nuclear umbrella for its Asian allies such as South Korea and Japan. "We're in position to do something very special".

"I'd much rather do it right than do it fast", the president said.

"It was all about the sanctions", Trump said at a news conference after the talks were cut short. It produced a joint statement in which Kim pledged to work toward denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and the two sides committed to establish new ties and build a permanent peace regime.

Their June meeting in Singapore was the first between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.

While responding to reporters during his meeting with Trump, the North Korean leader said he would be keen to welcome the idea of establishing a USA liaison office in N Korea's capital, Pyongyang, according to Reuters news reports.

Trump reiterated North Korea's potential, if a deal can be done, saying the isolated country could be an "economic powerhouse". It made no mention of the breakdown of the summit.

Failure to reach an agreement marks a setback for Trump, a self-styled dealmaker under pressure at home over his ties to Russian Federation and testimony from Michael Cohen, his former personal lawyer who accused him of breaking the law while in office.

Trump has taken credit for freeing American prisoners overseas and used Warmbier's death as a rallying cry against the North's human rights abuses before softening his rhetoric before talks with Kim.

North Korea released Warmbier, an American student, in June 2017 after more than a year of imprisonment, returning him to the USA in a coma.

The leaders' formal talks continue Thursday.

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