North Korea Leader Kim Says Ready To Denuclearise

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi
North Korea Leader Kim Says Ready To Denuclearise

04 March, 2019

The breakdown denied Trump a much-needed triumph amid growing domestic turmoil back home, including congressional testimony this week by his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who called Trump a "racist" and "con man" and claimed prior knowledge that WikiLeaks would release emails that would damage Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2016.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a news conference after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the JW Marriott hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 28, 2019.

Facing increasing political and legal pressure at home over investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election, Trump has devoted significant time and effort to trying to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons in exchange for promises of peace and development, a foreign policy goal that has confounded multiple predecessors.

Trump told the press pack that "there's no rush" for a deal.

"Both of their legacies are really rooted in keeping this relationship going further, and we have a very awkward type of love relationship between these two", Jasper Kim, a professor of global studies at Ewha Womans University, told Al Jazeera.

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Trump told reporters that that's what the two are discussing during their second day of talks.

He instead emphasized his good relationship with the young North Korean leader, which he said heralds "a lot of good things" to happen.

The White House has given no indication of what the signing ceremony might involve, although the two sides' discussions have included the possibility of a political statement to declare the 1950-53 Korean War over, which some critics see as premature.

"Basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn't do that", Trump told reporters.

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The US president was speaking as he sat alongside Kim at the start of their second day of talks in the Vietnamese capital.

"Speed is not important", Trump said. "And, Chairman Kim and I had a great talk about that last night".

South Korea's Unification Ministry, which deals with affairs with North Korea, couldn't confirm whether it was the first time Kim answered a question from a foreign journalist.

Furthering the spirit of optimism, the leaders seemed to find a point of agreement moments later when Kim was asked if the USA may open a liaison office in North Korea.

The interpreters - Yun-hyang Lee, who also translated for Trump at his first meeting with Kim in Singapore, and Sin Hye Yong, for Kim - played a key role in the exchanges.

In return, Kim might pledge to destroy North Korea's decades-old Yongbyon nuclear complex, which has always been at the heart of Pyongyang's atomic development but remains shrouded in secrecy - and North Korea has promised to mothball it twice before.

Trump, in a news conference after the abrupt end to the talks, said the breakdown occurred over North Korea's insistence that all punishing sanctions the USA had imposed on North Korea be lifted without Pyongyang committing to eliminate its entire nuclear arsenal.

Even as the two sides sparred over the exact meaning of the vaguely-worded Singapore declaration, with Pyongyang accusing Washington of "gangster-like" behaviour, Trump boasted of his rapport with Kim, who he said had proclaimed his "unwavering faith" in the United States president. He secured Trump's support for the opening of a liaison office in Pyongyang, without offering any concessions of his own.

Trump added that he still believes the country still has "huge potential" and he'd like to "keep the relationship".

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