Hanoi summit: Trump-Kim talks are off the record - and that's official
Mar 03 2019
The leaders are in Vietnam for talks on nuclear disarmament. They are under pressure to reach concrete measures after making little progress following a historic first summit past year.
Some experts say the prospects for such a summit are now murkier after the talks fell through in Hanoi.
"If I'm not willing to do that, I won't be here right now", Kim told reporters through an interpreter, when asked if he was ready to give up his nuclear weapons.
Analysts say it remains unclear what exactly Mr Kim means by denuclearisation.
What's on the table for talks?
The visit to Vietnam follows last year's historic summit between Trump and Kim in Singapore, where the pair signed a document promising to work toward "complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula".
The two leaders' interpreters were the only others privy to their conversation, raising concerns about why Trump would risk meeting Kim, who has threatened the USA with nuclear strikes and has a dismal human rights record, without staff to take notes. "I very much appreciate no testing of nuclear rockets, missiles, any of it, very much appreciate it", Trump told reporters before his session with Kim.
Kim pledged to do "all my best" in order to achieve a "good result" in the nuclear talks.
The response marked the first time the 35-year-old dictator has ever been known to reply to a question from a foreign journalist.
"There must be people who watch us having a wonderful time, like a scene from a fantasy movie".
Kim also said he was willing to permit the USA to open a liaison office in Pyongyang. From the U.S. side, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney were present.
Bong Young-shik, an analyst at Seoul's Yonsei University, was less anxious, saying that the criticism Trump faced in Singapore could make him less likely to make huge, impulsive decisions during his private meetings with Kim this time around.
Liaison offices are below the level of embassies but would be a key initial step in normalising relations between the former wartime foes.
How will the day of talks unfold?
It is unclear if a "joint agreement signing ceremony" will still be held and Mr Trump has brought forward a news conference, which is now scheduled for 14:00 local time (07:00 GMT).
North Korea has conducted no nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile tests since late 2017.
So what should we expect?
The two leaders exchanged "many good ideas" over dinner the previous night, Trump said, but did not elaborate on the topics discussed.
"We couldn't quite get there today", Pompeo said, minimizing what seemed to be a chasm between the two sides.
North Korea's state media made no immediate comment on the diplomatic impasse, and Kim remained in his locked-down hotel after leaving the summit venue.
The paper also added that his overseas trip had caused some of its citizens sleepless nights, with one woman telling a state broadcaster that she "really missed" Mr Kim.