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Trump hails talks with North Korean leader despite early end to summit

US President Donald J. Trump returns to the White house after his meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam, photo taken on Feb. 28, 2019 in Washington DC. EPA- EFE/ Chris Kleponis / Pool

US President Donald J. Trump returns to the White house after his meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam, photo taken on Feb. 28, 2019 in Washington DC. EPA- EFE/ Chris Kleponis / Pool

EFE

The president of the United States on Friday said that he and the leader of North Korea had held substantive negotiations this week in Vietnam even though their second summit ended abruptly without a joint agreement.

Donald Trump made the remarks on Twitter after talks in Hanoi with Kim Jong-un aimed at finding a solution to Pyongyang’s nuclear threat.

“Great to be back from Vietnam, an amazing place. We had very substantive negotiations with Kim Jong Un - we know what they want and they know what we must have. Relationship very good, let’s see what happens!” Trump tweeted.

The president returned home after the US delegation left Hanoi on Thursday hours ahead of schedule and without a joint declaration being signed on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Before his departure, Trump attributed the lack of an agreement to North Korea’s insistence that the US lift all sanctions on the isolated Asian nation, although he said that he and Kim had bid farewell on good terms.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, however, contradicted Trump’s remarks shortly afterward, saying that Pyongyang had only sought partial sanctions relief.

Ri told reporters on Thursday night that the North Koreans offered to permanently and completely disable all nuclear material production facilities at the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center and do so in the presence of US experts.

That plant is home to the country’s main nuclear reactor.

For his part, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo , who is currently on an official visit to the Philippines, insisted that North Korea had called for a full removal of sanctions and also lamented a lack of “clarity” on the scope of that country’s plans to dismantle the Yongbyon plant.

“They were pretty expansive with respect to what they are prepared to do at Yongbyon but there still was not complete clarity with respect to the full scope of what it is they were prepared to offer,” Pompeo, who flew to the Philippines from Hanoi, told reporters in Manila.

Despite the competing versions of the talks, Pompeo said Washington is eager to return to the negotiating table in hopes of achieving peace and stability in the region and for the North Korean people.


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