Lifting the United States sanctions against North Korea in exchange for the dismantling of theYongbyon nuclear research center where atomic bombs fuel is produced, did not seem a fair negotiation to Donald Trump, who left the Hanoi negotiating table and deflated the denuclearization optimism.
The optimistic atmosphere that both sides had created fell abruptly and an uncertainty cloud has settled again with an emphasis on Asia where the alarms have never been deactivated.
Recently, Donald Trump himself had boasted that his administration was the one that prevented a war in Asia, but the failure to reach an agreement brings back the danger that entails the intensification of the mutual insults campaign in which both leaders were involved recently.
The second day of the Hanoi summit began with harmony signs between the two leaders, but it was abruptly closed without the signing of the joint statement negotiated by both parties and with Trump’s confirmation that he may not meet again Kim in “a long time”.
“It’s been two very interesting days, very productive, but sometimes you have to walk away, and this was just one of those times,” Trump said at a press conference at the end of the summit.
According to the US president, Kim offered to dismantle the Yongbyon nuclear research center, where he produces atomic bombs fuel, but in return he asked for a lifting of sanctions that Washington considered unacceptable.
“Basically they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn´t do that. They were willing to denuke a large portion of the areas that we wanted, but we couldn´t give up all the sanctions for that, so (…) we had to walk away.” Trump explained.
In addition, Kim “was unprepared” to do what Washington asked him to do with denuclearization, said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“We actually had papers ready to be signed, but it just wasn´t appropriate. I´d much rather do it right than do it fast”, said Trump, who returned to Washington after the press conference.
USA and North Korea had weeks negotiating a joint statement to follow up on the one signed at the Singapore historic summit, in which they planned to make some progress in denuclearization in exchange for a modest relaxation of Washington’s economic sanctions.
It was said, that Trump and Kim could sign a peace declaration on the Korean peninsula, a non-binding document that would have had a clear symbolic weight in a region which technically is still at war after the 1953 armistice.
Both sides also considered establishing “liaison” offices in their respective capitals, a first step on the road to initiating diplomatic relations between the two historic enemies, and possible advances were expected related to the return of the American soldiers remains from the Korean war.
All that was cancelled owing to a fundamental disagreement on the denuclearization central issue which has shown no progress since the Singapore summit due to the lack of a road map and the differences regarding the meaning of that term.
Translated by: Jose Espinoza