Trump Kim talks collapsed at Hanoi

U.S. President Donald Trump reached the pre-agreed venue in Hanoi on Thursday to conclude the much-anticipated agreement with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The bilateral agreement sought to bring Pyongyang a step nearer the progressive elimination of its nuclear weapons development programme.

A draft of the agreement was awaiting on the negotiating table the two heads. The bilateral agreement appeared to be near after the operational hindrances over what constitutes denuclearisation efforts were surmounted. The head of North Korea had preliminarily agreed to suspend ballistic missile tests and in exchange would receive some allowances. However, as soon as he arrived at Metropole Hotel in Central Hanoi, the North Korean leader made surprise request to the American President. This was a follow-up repetition of what had also occurred in the first summit of the two leaders hosted in Singapore in July 2018. In the Singapore summit, the U.S. President had agreed to withdraw from joint military exercises with South Korea so long as deliberations between the two heads of state ensued.

At Hanoi, President Trump revealed to press that the North Korean counterpart requested the lifting of economic sanctions. In a tit-for-tat deal, Pyongyang accepted to disable the Yongbuon reactor, a facility extensively used for the production of fissile material to be equipped in nuclear warheads. In line with the U.S. President’s admissions, he could never expect that the North Korean counterpart would agree to surrender a strategic importance facility. The U.S. President counter-proposed first disarmament to take place and then continue with the progressive removal of sanctions. However, North Korean Kim was unwilling to endorse the prospect of deployment of an inspection regime by U.S. officials in Pyongyang.

As the deliberations went on, it growingly became understandable that both sides agreed to disagree. President Trump then fell back on the advice given by his National Security Adviser John Bolton, to choose the no deal option instead of a bad deal. Meanwhile, back in the reception room, where journalists expected the simultaneous arrival of the two leaders, appeared White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, who informed of the cessation of talks. The two leaders eventually appeared before the press, concluding their Hanoi deliberations with a strong handshake and a pledge to continue direct communication.

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